New York: Roger Federer set-up a US Open third round clash against Nick Kyrgios who found himself at the centre of an impartiality row after an umpire climbed down from his chair to tell him: “I want to help you.”
Second seed and five-time champion here Federer, 37, made it 18 wins in 18 second round appearances in Flushing Meadows by seeing off error-plagued Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.
Also going through were Wimbledon champion and two-time US Open winner Novak Djokovic as well as Marin Cilic, the champion in New York in 2014. Djokovic downed Tennys Sandgren of the United States 6-1, 6-3, 6-7(2/7), 6-2 while seventh seed Cilic had a second successive easy day with a 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 rout of Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz.
Kyrgios meanwhile reached the third round by seeing off France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert 4-6, 7-6(8/6), 6-3, 6-0. However, the match created a huge storm after respected umpire Mohamed Lahyani lost patience with the under-performing 30th seed and climbed down from his chair to tell the Australian, trailing by a set and 3-0, to try harder.
“I want to help you,” Lahyani could be heard saying. “This isn’t you. I know that. You are great for tennis.”
A furious Herbert said that Lahyani had over-stepped the mark. “The umpire doesn’t have to talk to him at all. The only thing he can tell him is pay attention, because if you continue like this, I’m going to give you a warning,” said the 27-year-old. “He’s not a coach, he’s an umpire.”
German third seed Alexander Zverev made the third round for the first time in four tries after a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over French lucky loser Nicolas Mahut.
Wimbledon women’s champion Angelique Kerber kept her bid for a second US Open title on track, outlasting Sweden’s Johanna Larsson 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. In another match Belarus’ 26th seed Aryna Sabalenka continued her red-hot summer by seeing off 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 7-6(9/7).
However, in the biggest upset of the night Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine ended second seed Caroline Wozniacki’s aspirations with a 6-4, 6-2 win.