New York: Five-time champion Roger Federer found a new way to amaze Saturday as he reached the US Open last 16 with a 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 victory over Nick Kyrgios.
The second-seeded Swiss withstood an early onslaught from the unpredictable Aussie, firing 51 winners that included an unlikely forehand flicked around the net post that Kyrgios couldn’t believe.
“Definitely a bit of luck and good feet,” Federer said of the shot that had Kyrgios wide-eyed at the net.
Federer had the luxury of a two-set lead when the duo’s most entertaining exchanges thrilled the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd. Things would have been much different if Kyrgios could have converted one of four break points in the seventh game of the opening set. But Federer escaped, breaking Kyrgios to pocket the first set and dominating the second.
“He’s an unbelievable frontrunner. When he gets in front, there’s not much you can do,” Kyrgios said
Federer will be seeking a 13th appearance in the US Open quarterfinals when he plays Australian John Millman, who reached the last 16 of a major for the first time with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin. If he makes it past Millman, Federer could find Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic waiting in the last eight.
Djokovic, winner of US Open titles in 2011 and 2015, extended his dominance over Richard Gasquet with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 victory in front of a rowdy night crowd on Ashe.
“It was the best match of the week so far without a doubt, and one of the best performances of the hardcourt season after Wimbledon,” said Djokovic, who warmed up for Flushing Meadows by beating Federer in the Cincinnati Masters final.
Djokovic saved all five break points he faced to book a meeting with Joao Sousa of Portugal, a 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5) winner over France’s Lucas Pouille.
Alexander Zverev, the 21-year-old sensation, who has lifted titles in Munich, Madrid and Washington this year and reached finals in Miami and Rome, fell 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 to veteran compatriot Philippe Kohlschreiber.
It was another Grand Slam disappointment for Zverev, touted as the youngster most likely to end the major dominance of Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Kohlschreiber will seek a quarterfinal berth against 2014 runner-up Kei Nishikori after the Japanese downed Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.