After conceding the opening set in both his first and second round victories, Federer ensured those initial struggles were an anomaly. He ousted Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 to open Day 5 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Sometimes you just have to trust your team and your warm-up, everything you’ve done for so long,” Federer told Brad Gilbert of ESPN. “Maybe also Danny wasn’t feeling it today. He played yesterday so maybe that was a competitive advantage for me. But I was able to play beautiful tennis today under a beautiful sky.
“I definitely think this is playing much faster than at night and even indoors. That’s the key to winning here and staying around, to adjust to wind, heat and humidity. It makes the ball travel differently and I was able to manage it well.”
Federer was the stronger player from the baseline, with his forehand ripping through the court in perfect, sunny conditions. He triumphed after a mere one hour and 19 minutes, launching 48 winners, including 10 aces. Moreover, Federer won 80 per cent of first serve points and 70 per cent on his second delivery.
The five-time champion (2004-08) is into the Round of 16 for the 18th consecutive year. He has not missed the second week of the US Open since his debut appearance in 2000. Federer improved to 88-13 overall at Flushing Meadows.
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Federer was on the front foot from the start, breaking for 4-2 behind a sublime drop volley winner and a blasted backhand pass. Showtime Federer was in full flow, leaping for a spinning overhead smash in the next game. And he would streak to an early lead in the second set, breaking to love in the fourth game.
It was a clinical performance from the Basel native. A wayward approach from Evans gave Federer a break to open the third set, and while the Brit would draw level in the next game, it wasn’t enough. The 38-year-old did not allow his opponent to establish any rhythm, eventually crossing the finish line with a service winner.
Federer, who qualified for a 17th Nitto ATP Finals with a first-round victory over Sumit Nagal, also prevailed in four sets in a second-round win over Damir Dzumhur. Against Evans, he improved to 3-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, defeating the Brit at three of the four Grand Slams. He also triumphed at Wimbledon in 2016 and earlier this year at the Australian Open.