Roger Federer served sensationally to rout Daniel Evans 6-2 6-2 6-1 and storm into the US Open’s fourth round.
However Friday’s victory was overshadowed by a scheduling controversy, while former New York finalist Kei Nishikori was knocked out of the tournament in a 6-2 6-4 2-6 6-3 loss to Australian livewire Alex de Minaur.
While Federer had a day of rest Thursday, Evans played back-to-back matches because his second round against Lucas Pouille was washed out Wednesday and staged Thursday with a 6pm finish, seeing him return 18 hours later at noon Friday.
“I was fatigued,” Evans said.
“I thought it was pretty tough I was first up after playing yesterday, if I’m being brutally honest.”
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2019
The world No.58 said his rank meant he had no say over scheduling, while he suggested top stars like Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had more sway with organisers.
“There is probably about four people in this tournament who have a say when they play. Maybe three … The tournament obviously wants Roger, would rather [see] Roger going through that match than me,” the Briton said.
Federer retorted that he was “sick and tired of it, that apparently I call the shots. The tournament and the TV stations do.”
He acknowledged that the scheduling was not in Evans’ favour but added: “That’s tennis. It’s entertainment, and the show must go on. I’ve lost matches this way. I’ve won some this time. Luck was on my side. I understand if Danny is a little bit frustrated.”
Federer allowed Evans just six points on his own serve in the first set and then won his next five service games at love to take the second set and go 1-0 up in the third.
Evans broke two games later but did not even get a sniff at a comeback as Federer reeled off the next four games to complete the quickest men’s draw victory of the current tournament in a mere one hour and 20 minutes.
Federer finished with 48 winners while Evans, who was invited by Federer to train with him in Switzerland ahead of the French Open, had a mere seven.
“I was able to play beautiful tennis today under a beautiful sky,” added Federer.
“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.”
Meanwhile, De Minaur claimed his biggest grand slam scalp with a 6-2 6-4 2-6 6-3 triumph over seventh-seeded former Open runner-up Kei Nishikori.
The pulsating victory – his first over a top-10 rival – leaves de Minaur one win away from a potential quarter-final showdown with Federer.
The watershed win also atoned for a gut-wrenching five-set loss at the same stage last year to Marin Cilic, the Croatian who beat Nishikori in the 2014 final at Flushing Meadows.
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