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Federer Survives Five-Set Scare To Deny Tiafoe

Even Roger Federer feels the pressure of playing under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The five-time US Open champion launched his campaign with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 win over #NextGenATP home hopeful Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday, rebounding after a shaky start in front of a packed crowd.

It was the first time Federer had been taken to five sets in the opening round at Flushing Meadows since his debut against Peter Wessels in 2000. His 79th US Open match win ties him in second place with Andre Agassi, behind only Jimmy Connors on 98.

Roger Federer is taken to five sets in the opening round of the US Open for the first time since 2000 on Tuesday.
Unperturbed by the occasion, the free-swinging Tiafoe took it to the No. 3 seed throughout. Federer saw his 16-0 record in US Open first rounds come under threat, as four unforced errors in the opening game handed an initial break to the #NextGenATP American.

Tiafoe did well to hold his serve throughout the set and gave a huge fist pump and a scream of “C'mon!” as a forehand winner saw him grab the opener. It marked the first time Federer had lost the opening set to a player outside the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings at the US Open since 2007, when he rallied past No. 60 Feliciano Lopez in the Round of 16.

The 36 year old’s passive start would not last, however. He would grab his first break for 3-1 in the second set and the tension released. The Swiss started finding his range with more depth and opened the court for his finishing forehand. He reeled off 12 of 15 games to grab a two-sets-to-one lead but his American opponent was not about to fade away.

Tiafoe went two from two on break points when he surged to 3-1 in the fourth set and with the errors beginning to flow from Federer’s strings, the American made it a perfect three from three on break points with a double break for 5-1. He brought up three set points with a drop-shot winner and locked it up at two sets all.

Tiafoe’s chances of winning a five-set match for the first time in his career were not looking great when Federer broke with a backhand winner down the line for 3-1. The No. 3 seed brought up match point with his 16th ace at 5-3. But Tiafoe was not done yet.

Roared on by his home crowd, he broke with a forehand pass down the line to get games back on serve for 4-5. His revival, though, was short-lived. Federer broke to close out the match when the American netted a short forehand at the two-hour, 40-minute mark. It sets a second-round showdown with either Slovenian Blaz Kavcic or Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/federer-usopen-2017-tuesday

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