Roger Federer made light of energy-sapping conditions to brush past Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2 6-2 6-4 in his opening match at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.
Where other players had slogged through long rallies as the temperature hit 32C, Federer kept his time on court to a minimum with a masterclass of serve-and-volley tennis, pulling the industrious world number 177 from one side of the court to the other at will.
Federer, the second seed, broke the Japanese lefthander in the opening game of the one-sided encounter and never looked back, rattling through his service games with trademark swagger to wrap up the first set in 28 minutes.
The Swiss took 35 minutes to close out the second set and, with Nishioka firmly on the ropes, started the third by racing to a 4-0 lead before his Japanese opponent held serve.
Nishioka rallied briefly at the end, denying Federer the chance to serve out the set and battling back to 5-4 with his first break of serve.
But Federer put his beleaguered opponent out of his misery in his next service game, wrapping up the victory in one hour and 52 minutes.
“I’m happy to be back in New York, healthy – the last couple of years have been difficult so it’s nice to be back, feeling really good,” Federer said courtside after the win.
“I’m happy I played well tonight and Nishioka was a tough opponent. He’s got fast legs and a bright future ahead of him. I was very happy with how I played.”
Next up for the Swiss in his bid for a second major of the year is a second-round clash with unseeded Frenchman Benoit Paire
Marin Cilic clinched a second-round berth at the US Open after opponent Marius Copil of Romania retired hurt in the third set trailing the seventh-ranked Croat 7-5 6-1 1-1 on Tuesday.
Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic defied debilitating heat and humidity to beat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 and reach the second round.
The Serb star next faces American Tennys Sandgren, a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 winner over Serbian Viktor Tricki.
Fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev punched his ticket to the US Open second round on Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Canadian lucky loser Peter Polansky, while fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios sweated out a 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-2 win over Radu Albot to reach the second round of the US Open on Tuesday.