Wu Yibing becomes first Chinese man to reach the US Open third round since 1881
Wu Yibing of China reacts after losing his match against Kevin Anderson during their men’s singles draw at the U.S. Open on Sept 15, 2017 at Flushing Meadows in Flushing, New York.
Kevin Dietsch/The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON — The last time Roger Federer stood atop the third-round match at the U.S. Open, he was playing against Jimmy Connors.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I was a little worried,” Federer said. It wasn’t until his final service game that Connors broke serve.
It was Federer’s 18th major title, and Connors had just finished his career as the No. 1-ranked player in the world. Federer would go on to win five more titles down the stretch, and he would win one more title at the U.S. Open at his final tournament, in 2006.
At Monday night’s third-round match, Federer’s first game saw him drop serve and take a backhand volley that he had just returned just a few minutes earlier. The second game he had served into at love, and after hitting a return winner on his fourth service ball, he came up with a winner of his own. In the end, however, he would fall short.
It was a reminder that the No. 15-ranked Federer, who is in his ninth year at the U.S. Open, still has plenty in his game to improve upon. But maybe that is good news.
“I learned a lot and I am extremely disappointed with my performance,” Federer said. “I will play like this every match. I will try to learn from my mistakes and hopefully get back to my game in the future.”
Federer won his first major title the same week as Connors. Connors had been an 18-year-old kid born in a tiny village in South America in 1934. And yet, he was ranked No. 1. His career would go on and he would win 16 more