Swiss legend Roger Federer on Saturday turned in a vintage display to move past Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, 6,4, 6-1, 7-5, and advance to the fourth round of the US Open 2018. Federer dropped just eight points on his first serve in 15 games, recorded 51 winners to 24 unforced errors and saved all four break points he faced in a peerless display of shot-making.
However, there was one shot in the third set which caught the eye of everyone there at the court and those watching on the television sets. The point of the match, and one of the shots of the tournament, came when Federer blocked Kyrgios’ serve to the backhand and the 23-year-old Australian guided a drop shot cross-court toward the photographers’ pit.
The 37-year-old Swiss chased it down, scooping the ball inches from the concrete and guiding it around the net post from the unlikeliest of positions. It left Kyrgios bemused and smiling, an appreciation that wrapped around a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Almost unreal,” said the 23-year-old who admired the bit of racket wizardry with eyes wide open and mouth agape.
It should be remembered that as per the rules governing the sport, it is not mandatory that the ball has to travel over the net for a shot to count.
Federer also regarded his point as “a special one”. “Yeah, definitely the around-the-pole shot was unique, it can only happen in a bigger court where you play with the singles net. Other big shots I remember, with Andy (Roddick), the counter-smash, and of course the between-the-legs here with Novak (Djokovic),” he said of the shot.
Federer will face unseeded world No. 55 John Millman in the fourth round who recorded consecutive four-set wins over No. 14 seed Fabio Fognini and unseeded Mikhail Kukushkin.