2012 U.S. Open: Roger Federer Defeats Fernando Verdasco to Advance

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 01:  Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a shot against  Fernando Verdasco of Spain during their men's singles third round match on Day Six of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 1, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Roger Federer is one step closer to his sixth career U.S. Open championship after his 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 third-round victory over Fernando Verdasco on Saturday.

Federer will face the winner of Saturday evening's match between Mardy Fish and Gilles Simon in his next match. This is the 34th straight time he has advanced to the Round of 16 in a Grand Slam.

Verdasco did the best he could as the tournament's No. 25 seed, but he didn't have enough. However, he was able to challenge Federer more than the Swiss Maestro's first two opponents. It was still a straight-set win, but he managed to make things interesting in the third and final set.

This year's U.S. Open has been no trouble for Fed-Ex so far. He had won six straight sets coming into Saturday's match after dispensing Donald Young and Bjorn Phau in straight sets in the tournament's first two rounds.

Federer has already enjoyed a successful summer. He won Wimbledon in early July, and his experience in the London Olympics was a good one despite losing to Andy Murray in the gold-medal match.

At 31 years old, Federer has yet to hit a wall. His play in the U.S. Open so far has been nearly flawless. He's committing unforced errors more frequently than he would like, but his ground strokes are still crisp and accurate.

His next match won't be as easy. Simon is the tournament's 16th seed, and Fish is No. 23. Fish has only beaten Federer once in his career, but Simon has beaten Federer in two of four tries, according to matchstat.com.

Make sure you tune into Federer's next match on Monday. The Round of 16 is only one step away from quarterfinal action, and every match will be worth watching.