Federer ousts Groth under lights
UPDATE: Roger Federer has beaten Sam Groth in straight sets to advance to the third round of the US Open in New York.
Teenage standard-bearer Nick Kyrgios is Australia’s last man standing at Flushing Meadows after Roger Federer ended big-serving Sam Groth’s gallant US Open campaign.
Try as he might, Groth was unable to find a way past the mighty Federer, faltering 6-4 6-4 6-4 in his “once-in-a-lifetime” appearance under lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
After cracking the world’s top 100 this month, Groth was facing a top-10 rival for the first time – and opponents don’t come any tougher in New York than the masterful Swiss.
The five-times champion boasts the Open’s greatest winning strike rate – a staggering 89 per cent – in 46 years of professional tennis and has lost only once in 25 night matches.
And dressed to kill in undertaker all-black, Federer was in a merciless mood as he broke Groth’s much-hyped serve five times in an entertaining Friday night duel.
Federer was so majestic that even Groth’s best rally ended in defeat when the second seed flicked a breathtaking half-volley backhand lob over his head after the Australian thought he had him pinned.
Groth, the owner of the world’s fastest serve, also fired down a 236.5kph bullet, the most explosive delivery of the tournament.
But he lost that point too as Federer carved out another straight-sets victory, just like his opener against Marinko Matosevic, to set up a third-round date on Sunday with Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
With Bernard Tomic withdrawing from his scheduled second-round meeting with Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer earlier on Friday, Kyrgios is now the lone Australian left in the men’s singles draw.
The 19-year-old takes on Spanish 16th seed Tommy Robredo on Saturday night for a place in the last 16.
Groth made an impressive enough start against Federer, a 190kph body serve on the opening point of the match putting his superstar opponent on notice.
The Grand Slam battler served and volleyed his way through his first game comfortably, but quickly found himself under pressure against a foe he readily dubbed “probably the greatest player of all time” before entering the stadium.
Two unsuccessful forays to the net handed Federer two break points in the third game, but Groth held firm.
But he was unable to escape the break from 15-40 down serving at 3-3 and Federer converted his advantage to take the opening set after half an hour.
As Groth repeatedly struggled with his ball toss, Federer made another decisive break in the ninth game of the second set.
Groth was unable to negotiate the Swiss’s dipping backhand return and Federer once again held to love the following game to surge into a two-set lead.
The 26-year-old briefly threatened to sneak a set off the world No.3 after breaking for a 4-2 lead in the third.
But he quickly dropped serve twice, the second time on a double-fault, to allow Federer to close out the match after one hour and 48 minutes.