Written by: on 28th August 2018
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Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return to Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan on the second day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 28 August 2018. The US Open runs from 27 August through 09 September.  EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE



By Ricky Dimon


It was a hot one at the U.S. Open on Tuesday. Even hotter than usual. Maybe hottest ever.


There were six retirements on the men’s side and there were almost a couple more. Although Novak Djokovic certainly didn’t come close to pulling the ripcord, he also didn’t exactly sail through his first-round match. The reigning Wimbledon champion endured his own struggles with the 95-degree conditions, as did opponent Marton Fucsovics. But Djokovic recovered from a mid-match hiccup, battling back from a break down in the third with the match tied at one set apiece before prevailing 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.


“It was a tough one,” the world No. assured. “We both struggled. We were not the only ones today…. Brutal conditions. But it is what it is. You have to kind of deal with it. I had to find a way to dig myself out of the trouble. It was a set all and I was break down. I think that was a turning point–4-3 in the third when he was serving, I managed to play a good game. I saw that he’s starting to slow down a bit. He started to experience some physical issues. That’s where I felt, ‘Well, this is the time to use this kind of opportunity and try and get back in the match.’


“I [never thought] I would not finish it,” he added. “I was obviously hoping and praying that I’ll get to feel better as the match progresses. Obviously I felt better, especially after that 10-minute break (after the third set). For the first three sets it was a survival mode for both of us.”


Roger Federer, on the other hand, had no such issues. After all, he was playing in friendlier conditions at night and his match was not competitive. The five-time U.S. Open champion eased past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 in just one hour and 52 minutes.


Federer, sporting an all-red outfit, fired 56 winners–including 14 aces.


“Thankfully I wasn’t too nervous tonight,” the 37-year-old Swiss noted. “I felt good. I felt like I had a good preparation week. No hiccups there. I think that settles my nerves.


When you do walk out onto Arthur Ashe, you feel like people are there to see the show, enjoy themselves. Sure, they come for the tennis, but it’s also sort of a bucket list, wanting to be there. So, yeah, there’s pressure. But, no, (it) never gets old. I love coming to play here. It’s been so many years now. So it’s great to have played also a good first round against an entertaining first-round opponent. I’m very pleased to be back in New York, of course.”


Federer will be sticking around for a while longer, and plenty of top women will be doing the same. World No. 1 Simona Halep got bounced on Monday, but the favorites took care of business one day later. Among those advancing were Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys, Caroline Garcia, and Petra Kvitova.


Keys followed Federer during the night session in Arthur Ashe Stadium and defeated Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-4.


Ricky contributes to and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.