By Ros Satar

  • Roger Federer [2] def. Nick Kyrgios [30] 6-4 6-1 7-5
  • Dominika Cibulkova [29] def. Angelique Kerber 6-3 3-6 6-3
NEW YORK, USA – Roger Federer coasted into the fourth round, but Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber became another high seeded casualty on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium.

 

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Roger Federer [2] def. Nick Kyrgios [30] 6-4 6-1 7-5

After umpire driven pep talks, it was all eyes on Arthur Ashe to see which Nick Kyrgios would turn up to face the No. 2 seed Roger Federer. The first few games seemed to be a competition of who could bash through their service games quicker, with not a sniff of a break point until the seventh game, with Kyrgios pressuring Federer with four breaks, neither of which bought the Aussie any joy.

When Federer had his chance at the end of the set, he just needed a second shot at it to close out the first set. It was not just momentum that stayed with Federer – it was a tidal wave as he broke Kyrgios twice in a row, and with the benefit of a double break cushion, he could afford to let two set points go on the Aussie’s serve, as he served out for a 2-0 lead.

It was a bit better from Kyrgios at the start of the third set with strong competitive play and upped levels from both players. Federer let two chances to break go by, before converting on his third try in the penultimate game, and served out a place in the fourth round to love.

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Kyrgios admitted that once Federer get ahead, there was not much he could do to halt the inevitable, including an outrageous shot around the post that left the Aussie open-mouthed!

He said, after the match: “Pressure – got to the business end of the first set, crucial moment. Played a terrible service game. Didn’t make any first serves. Just it was tough. I knew how important that first set was.

“He loosened up straightaway after that. He started playing some shots that we all know, you know, he can make. All the pressure was off him. He’s an unbelievable frontrunner. When he gets in front, there’s not much you can do.”

Federer, who had disagreed with umpire Mohamed Lahyani’s pep talk to Kyrgios in the previous game perhaps had a small message for Kyrgios when asked about what it was like to face him.

Federer said, in his post-match press conference: “When I’m playing, I feel like [Kyrgios is an] unpredictable player with an enormous serve, who can just turn it on whenever he wants to do it. That changes your mind-set a little bit as a player, as a top player, that all of a sudden, you feel like you have to be the consistent guy, rather than you being the flashy guy, just because he has a tendency to throw in the odd shot that you just don’t normally see on the tour like that.”

We are still set for a potential showdown with Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final, as he eased into the fourth round with a straight sets win over Richard Gasquet.

 

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Dominika Cibulkova [29] def. Angelique Kerber 6-3 3-6 6-3

Dominika Cibulkova in the first round, Wimbledon 2018

Dominika Cibulkova in the first round, Wimbledon 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Coming into the tournament, all four reigning Slam champions were the top seeds. By the close of the day session on the first Saturday, the new Louis Armstrong Stadium laid claim to another champion as Dominika Cibulkova took out the Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.

The start looked like it could be Kerber’s day with an early break, but never count out Cibulkova – she clawed the break back, only for Kerber to break twice more to wrap up the first set.

The diminutive Slovakian roared into a 3-0 lead with Kerber grabbing one of the breaks back, but despite some solid play from both of them, Cibulkova broke to level the match.

Although capable of some lung-burning rallies, Kerber lacked the power to hit through Cibulkova, who’s relentless aggressive play finally started to make its mark. A flurry of breaks kept Cibulkova in the driving seat as she coasted into the fourth round, having been as far as the quarter-final back in 2010.

Their encounters have always been quite feisty, and tough, and having lost twice to the German as she started the year in solid form, it was a hardened win to snap a two-match losing streak.

Cibulkova said, after the match: “It feels pretty good and special. This year I lost to Angelique twice, and even during those matches, I was playing pretty solid. I was playing pretty fine. She just didn’t give me any chance.

“So now we had to change something, and I think we had the great tactic with my coach, and I was able to do it. It was something that I don’t usually do, but I was able to do it and it was working 100%.”

Kerber had no option but to concur when she spoke to reporters after the match: “It was a really tough battle against Domi again. I had my chances, but I couldn’t take it, especially in the third set. Also, I mean, I was not able actually to play my best tennis in the important moment.

“She was going for it, and she hit the balls really good and played the winners when she has to. I think that was the difference about the match today.”

Play continues at the US Open at 11am (4pm BST) with Arthur Ashe Stadium starting at 12pm (5pm BST).

 

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