Federer wins again, turns the heat on Rafa

Soon after sweeping imperiously into the fourth round of the US Open with a third successive straight-sets win on Saturday, Roger Federer was turning up the pressure on his main title rival Rafael Nadal.

sports Updated: Sep 06, 2010 01:35 IST
Agencies

Soon after sweeping imperiously into the fourth round of the US Open with a third successive straight-sets win on Saturday, Roger Federer was turning up the pressure on his main title rival Rafael Nadal.

Federer, who beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, said Nadal must win the US Open if he is ever going to be considered one of the game's greats. While Federer has won all of the Grand Slam titles at least once, Nadal is stuck on three, with the US crown proving elusive.

Federer owns a record 16 major victories, while Nadal has eight. Nadal is five years younger, so he has time, but in Federer's opinion, the Spaniard needs at least one championship in New York to join the sport's pantheon.

"Clearly, he has a chance because he's young enough," Federer said.

"I guess he would need to win the US Open to put himself there. He's won the Olympics, done some amazing things. So, he'll have a shot at it, I'm sure."

Another of the title hopefuls, Novak Djokovic, signalled he may yet deny both men the Flushing Meadow title by sweeping past James Blake 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-3. His next opponent will be the in-form Mardy Fish, who won a five-setter against veteran Arnaud Clement.

Robin Soderling remained on course for a quarterfinal clash with Federer by cruising past Thiemo de Bakker 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. In the women's draw, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki set the pattern on a day of lop-sided matches by defeating Chan Yung-jan 6-1, 6-0.

The Dane has won 36 of 39 games so far in the tournament - the fewest games dropped through three completed matches at any Grand Slam tournament since Mary Pierce dropped only two at the 1994 French Open.

"I have been feeling good out there," Wozniacki said. "It just says something about how I've been playing, and the level I've been playing on."

Of the 15 singles matches scheduled Saturday, only three went past the minimum number of sets.

Maria Sharapova gave young American Beatrice Capra a tennis lesson, winning 6-0, 6-0. Vera Zvonareva had something more of a contest, downing Alexandra Dulgheru 6-2, 7-6 (2).

The most prominent elimination was that of No 4 Jelena Jankovic, who lost 6-2, 7-6 (1) to Kaia Kanepi. On a day made difficult by swirling winds, the 2008 finalist shanked one serve straight up in the air off the top of her racket frame and had 41 unforced errors. Capra's humbling loss to Sharapova left Venus Williams as the only American woman left in the singles.

The Russian was not about to be merciful to Capra, having been beaten by another unheralded American youngster last year in the shape of Melanie Oudin.

"This was a new day," said Sharapova, the first woman to win love-and-love at the U.S. Open in the third round or later since Martina Navratilova did it in the 1989 quarterfinals.

In the women's draw, Dominika Cibulkova trounced Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0, 6-1, while Yanina Wickmayer won by the slimmest possible margin against Patty Schnyder, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-6 (6).

First Published: Sep 06, 2010 01:32 IST