Slow-starting Federer hits top gear

Slow-starting Federer hits top gear

Roger Federer bounced back in style after losing the first set (AP)

Roger Federer bounced back in style after losing the first set (AP)

First published in Sport © by

Roger Federer recovered from dropping his first set of the tournament to race into the fourth round of the US Open.

The second seed made a slow start in a match interrupted by a thunderstorm but was hugely impressive thereafter in beating Spaniard Marcel Granollers 4-6 6-1 6-1 6-1.

Federer came into this tournament in superb form and had not been tested in his opening two matches so it was a big surprise when he only won one point in the first three games.

At 5-2 to Granollers, the players were taken off because of the threat of lightning and a few minutes later a torrential downpour began.

When they returned it was to the odd scene - certainly for Federer - of a virtually empty Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Tournament organisers had decided to start the night session prematurely, much to the annoyance of many day session ticket-holders, who were unable to watch the conclusion of the match.

Federer looked like he had repaired the damage when he retrieved the break but Granollers played a superb returning game to take the set.

The turning point came early in the second set when Federer saved a break point with an ace to avoid trailing 2-0.

Granollers did not win another game until he was 3-0 down in the third set, Federer dominating from the back of the court and at the net.

There was nothing the Spaniard, ranked 42, could do to turn things back in his favour and Federer clinched victory with his 57th winner after an hour and 58 minutes.

The 33-year-old said: "I enjoyed it. I thought it was a good match and I'm happy I was able to come back and turn it around. Marcel started really on fire. The break helped me and I came out and played some great tennis."

Fourth seed David Ferrer became the first top-10 man to exit the tournament in a third-round loss to France's Gilles Simon.

Ferrer, whose relentlessness is legendary, really struggled in hot and humid conditions in New York and went down 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-3.

Having made 10 straight grand slam quarter-finals, the 32-year-old has now failed to get past the third round at the last two.

It was an overdue big win at a slam for the talented Simon, whose only previous appearance in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows came in 2011, when he lost to John Isner.

Both men cited the conditions as having a big impact, with Simon saying: "It was really, really difficult to play. I feel it was one of the hardest days for me on the court because it was hot and it was so humid.

"I've never sweated like this in the last 10 years. To play David in these conditions is really demanding physically. At one point I was really tired. I felt it would be difficult. But then I had more energy.

"I felt he was in trouble, also. It's not very often that him and me are tired like this after two hours."

In the last 16, Simon will face 14th seed Marin Cilic, who won a big-hitting contest with Kevin Anderson 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Also through is sixth seed Tomas Berdych, a 6-3 6-2 6-4 winner over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili.

He next plays 20-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem after he defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-2 6-3 to make the fourth round at a grand slam for the first time.

Seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov recovered from losing the opening set to love against David Goffin in their third-round clash to win 0-6 6-3 6-4 6-1.

The match had been scheduled for the night session on Arthur Ashe but the earlier thunderstorm prompted a reshuffle and the pair were moved to Grandstand.

Belgian Goffin has been on a remarkable hot streak, winning 27 of his previous 28 matches, and it looked like an upset could be on the cards when he stormed through the opener.

But Dimitrov turned things round in the second set and emerged a relatively comfortable winner.

The Bulgarian said: "He played a great, great first set. Whatever I was trying to do was just not enough.

"He was taking every ball on the rise, penetrating through the court, coming in, volleys. His game was just too good in the first set.

"But I didn't let go of my belief, especially coming into that second set. I thought if I kept good composure and if I just stayed there mentally, I knew physically I was able to go the whole five sets.

"After taking that second set, I knew eventually I was playing my game. He was pushed back a little bit, so he started struggling with his footwork. I took charge of the game."

A tasty-looking fourth-round clash with Gael Monfils awaits after the charismatic Frenchman posted a surprisingly one-sided 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory against compatriot Richard Gasquet.

It was a perfect early birthday present for Monfils, who turns 28 on Monday.

The Frenchman has had a bit of a resurgence this summer, reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open, where he lost in five sets to Andy Murray.

Monfils said: "I feel good. I have had a great summer.

"I had some opportunities against the big guys and I didn't make it so I won't say great. I'll say okay. Now I'm just playing solid, so I'm happy about that.

"You never expect an easy match with a friend and as good a player as I know Richard is. It wasn't expected, but I'll take it."

Federer will play Spanish 17th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who saw off Adrian Mannarino in straight sets.

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