Second seed and five-time US Open champion Roger Federer of Switzerland beat big-serving American John Isner in straight sets in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday to book his quarter-final spot in the final major of the season.
17-time Grand Slam champion Federer edged 13th seed Isner 7-6 (0), 7-6(6), 7-5 to set up a last eight clash against 12th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who ousted sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. The world number two will contest his 46th Grand Slam quarter-final.
The 34-year-old Federer, who never lost his serve, held his own from the service line to thwart Isner and used his returning skills to break the 6'10" Isner's serve to claim the match and end the American's run of 110 consecutive service game holds at the US Open, dating back to the start of last year's championships.
Federer's perfect scoreline in the opening set tiebreak marked the first time that Isner has failed to win a single point in 429 tiebreakers played by the American.
"You've got to get a little lucky," Federer said in an on-court interview, "but 7-love is a very good score, obviously, against John. As long as you win the tiebreaker, it doesn't matter what the score is."
"John has one of the best serves in the game. Especially the pace on his second serve is unreal," Federer said. "And, yeah, you've just got to hang around and make sure you don't drop your own serve."
Federer did just that, saving all five break points he faced, while finishing with an impressive ratio of 55 winners to only 16 unforced errors.
Isner did have his chances against Federer. Six times, the American was two points away from grabbing the second set.
But Federer was at his best down the stretch in that tiebreaker, too, after trailing 5-3.
Federer won one point by returning a 140 mph serve before smacking a forehand passing winner. On another, he produced a forehand return winner off a 128 mph serve to earn a set point. And he capped the set by flicking a down-the-line backhand winner.
Isner's loss, as well as Donald Young's defeat at the hands of Stan Wawrinka made, this year's US Open the 16th consecutive Grand Slam tournament without an American man in the quarter-finals. Isner and Andy Roddick made it that far at the 2011 US Open.
(With inputs from Reuters)