(August 29, 2017) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Roger Federer needed five sets to hold off 19-year-old Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in his first round match at the US Open on Tuesday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I don’t think I had the preparation I was hoping to get,” Federer said about his slow start. “Since Montreal, focus has been more on the back, making sure I can play the tournament rather than being well-prepared. I always knew I was going to come in feeling rusty or not great. I was hoping to start better.
“I really struggled early on. I think Frances connected well. I just really kind of lost my footing sometimes. My eye wasn’t working. I was misjudging distance.
“I think I was also being a bit cautious with my movement. Then in the second set I think it all started to come together. That was good. But because of the preparation being not the best that I’ve had, I think I was quite up and down. Every time I was down, Frances took care of it. Then in the fifth, it was just more of get the energy back, you know, play to win, don’t just play to hope that he will miss.
“I think I did that, so I’m really, really excited that I won tonight. I’m very happy.”
This was the Swiss’s 79th win at the US Open, which ties him for second with Andre Agassi and behind Jimmy Connors with 98.
“I felt like when I was playing well, I was controlling most of the rallies. When I was hitting the ball big, he wasn’t really doing much except staying steady with me. When I was playing well, I was controlling the rallies and putting the most pressure on him. If I stepped back a little bit, he took that and ran with it,” the 70th-ranked Tiafoe said. “He won by the skin of his teeth.”