Roger Federer's smooth sailing at the 2013 U.S. Open continued Thursday afternoon, as he made slight work of second-round opponent Carlos Berlocq, defeating the Argentine 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
In a match that took a breezy 94 minutes, Federer was calm and collected throughout. He won on 75 percent of his first-serve points and 67 percent on second serves, drilling 37 winners that helped make up for some occasional over-aggressive play.
Playing with his trademark versatile style, Federer hit a series of impressive winners while mixing his game up between hard net charges and crushing forehands on the baseline.
He set the tone for the entire match during the first set. Despite struggling a bit with first-serve accuracy—only 13 of his 23 first serves were inside the lines—he continually put himself in advantageous situations to hit winners. Federer won 85 percent of his first serves and an astounding 90 percent on his second, using net charges to finish off 10 different points.
Berlocq, meanwhile, seemed satisfied with a more conservative approach. He hit all but one of his 29 serves inside the lines, but nearly all of them were at a below-average pace. Live Tennis' official Twitter feed had a less-kind word for Berlocq's serve strategy:
The second set was mostly more of the same. Federer saw regression to the mean on his second serves, winning only 4-of-11 opportunities, but the result was almost never in question. He broke Berlocq's serve three times during the 6-2 romp, approaching the net 18 more times as his opponent was sent reeling on the baseline. Federer also added four aces during the set, helping make up for 10 unforced errors.
Closing out the match with a dominant third set, Federer even threw some flair into his game. The U.S. Open's official Twitter feed had a video of the former world No. 1 striking a beautiful shot through his legs:
It was all Berlocq could do to squeak out one game during the third set. The unseeded 30-year-old, who is currently the No. 46 player in the world, won on just 29 percent of his return points and had as many unforced errors as winners (17). Berlocq has still yet to move past the second round of a Grand Slam.
Federer, who, at No. 7 in the world, is currently at his lowest ranking in over a decade, made equally quick work of unseeded Grega Zemlja in the first round. The Swiss star dispatched of his Slovenian counterpart 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, after rain forced the match to be delayed from Monday evening to Tuesday afternoon.
Federer now holds a 2-0 career head-to-head record against Berlocq. He defeated the Argentine last year in Rome.
With just one win in the 2013 calendar year (June's Gerry Weber Open), Federer faces an uphill battle to win his sixth U.S. Open championship. He won five straight from 2004 to 2008, but has won only one Grand Slam in the past three years. Last year Federer was defeated in the quarterfinals by Tomas Berdych, a major upset considering he made the semifinals in 2010 and 2011.
Federer's performance heading into Flushing Meadows this year came into question after he faltered in the second round of Wimbledon. And with Father Time creeping in at age 32, there were many who questioned whether he could make a deep run at Flushing Meadows. Through two rounds at least, Federer seems to be acquitting himself just fine.
Federer will play the winner of the match between Adrian Mannarino and 26th-ranked American Sam Querrey. He has never lost to either player, boasting a 2-0 record versus both. He has played one match against Mannarino and Querrey on hard surfaces, winning both contests in straight sets.
All stats are courtesy of the U.S. Open's official website.
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