Federer Finishes Strong Against Dzumhur At US Open
The Swiss, competing in his 100th US Open match (87-13), remained flawless in second-round matches in New York (19-0). Federer was made to work once again, having also dropped the opening set in his first-round clash on Monday against Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal. The five-time US Open champion hadn't won from a set down in consecutive matches since 2014 Dubai (d. Djokovic and Berdych).
"I have been in that position many times where you go through a little phase where you don't start so well... When it happens like this back-to-back matches, it's just a bit frustrating more than anything, especially when the level is that low and there is that many errors and the energy is not kind of there," said Federer. "But I'm not concerned. It's all good and I just need to take the positives out of it, because once I lose that first set I do get better, which is a good thing."
Dzumhur hadn’t taken a set off Federer in their two previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, but the World No. 99 in the ATP Rankings was unawed by competing in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Swiss looked out of sorts in the early stages of the match, hitting eight winners to 17 unforced errors as Dzumhur raised his level in crucial moments.
"He was my idol. He was a person out of the court and on the court I was following... He was definitely, for me, the best player in tennis history," Dzumhur told ATPTour.com before his latest clash against Federer. “I just think that I have to get in the match to try to play good, to try to do what I was doing in practice... If I play a really good game, I can always make trouble for any player."
After pondering his form at the changeover, Federer came out in full flight to start the second set. Pinning Dzumhur to the baseline with increased pace on both wings, the Swiss leapt in the air after rifling a forehand winner to hold serve for a 4-1 lead. Three games later, a double fault from the Bosnian levelled the match after one hour of play.
The third-set scoreline didn’t reflect the numerous challenges posed to Federer throughout. Dzumhur held at least one game point in five of the nine games, but Federer continued to come up with the goods - a backhand passing shot in the second game, a cheeky drop shot in the fourth game and a forehand winner in the seventh game - to keep bringing the score back to deuce. The Swiss took a commanding lead with an ace, marking his 43rd total winner of the match.
Federer scored an early break at 1-1 in the fourth set and the slight advantage was all he needed. A strong first serve from the Swiss wrapped up the match after two hours and 21 minutes.
Next up for Federer is No. 25 seed Lucas Pouille of France or Brit Daniel Evans. Federer is 2-0 against both men in their respective FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalries and hasn't dropped a set to either player.
"I can't reinvent myself from today to the third round," said Federer. "Tomorrow I will not practice over an hour, because I believe that all the hard work I have put in since Wimbledon and before, that I'm ready for that."