Grand SlamsRoger FedererUS Open

Federer Cruises Past Nishioka in Round 1 at Flushing Meadows

Roger Federer made a brisk start to his 2018 US Open Campaign with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win over Yoshihito Nishioka in Tuesday's night session on Arthur Ashe.

Playing in his 18th US Open the Swiss has never lost in the opening round and he made short work against an opponent who was using his Protected Ranking to get into the main draw, dropping just 8 games and firing 56 winners in 1 hour and 52 minutes.

Quick Match Recap

Federer USO 2018 Round 1

Federer won the toss, elected to receive and he was in front immediately breaking Nishioka by winning three points in a row from 15-40 for 1-0. The break was soon consolidated and with Nishioka looking a little overwhelmed he was soon down a double break as Roger swept the set 6-2.

Into set two and a similar pattern emerged as Nishioka dropped serve in game one. A 45-second hold put the Swiss 2-0 in front and the double break was soon his back pocket as he moved into a 4-0 lead, saving three break points of his own to get there. Another break point gave Fed a point for 5-0 but Nishioka held and saved another break point in game seven to avoid the breadstick as Roger went on to take the set 6-2.

With the match all but over, Nishioka was again broken in his first two service games at the start of set three as Roger moved into a 4-0 and 5-1 lead. At 5-1 the Swiss held two match points but Nishioka saved both en route to holding which included a funny point at deuce; Fed hits an overhead about 6 feet out, but for some reason, it's not called out and Dumusois calls Adv. Federer. Nishioka wins the next point but Roger just goes to the chair 😆 much to the confusion of the Umpire.

With Roger serving for it in game eight it looked like he'd be winning 2,2 & 2 but he slipped up, saving two break points to make deuce and a third but Nishioka finally got the break at the fourth time of asking to prolong his stay. A hold to 30 from the Japanse made things slightly more interesting at 4-5 but Roger steadied the ship with a hold to 30 to move into the second round.

Match Stats

Y. Nishioka R. Federer
Aces 0 14
Double Faults 4 3
First Serve % In 64/110 (58%) 55/82 (67%)
Win % On 1st Serve 29/64 (45%) 43/55 (78%)
Win % On 2nd Serve 27/46 (59%) 13/27 (48%)
Net Points Won 7/17 (41%) 31/45 (69%)
Break Points Won 1/9 (11%) 6/15 (40%)
Receiving Points Won 26/82 (32%) 54/110 (49%)
Winners 18 56
Unforced Errors 20 32
Total Points Won 82 110
Distance Covered 7450.7 Ft 7525.7 Ft
Distance Covered/pt. 38.8 Ft 39.2 Ft


Thoughts on the Match

Federer US Open Nishioka

Thankfully I wasn't too nervous tonight. I felt good. I felt like I had a good preparation week. No hiccups there. I think that settles my nerves there. When you do walk out onto Arthur Ashe, you feel like people are there to see the show, enjoy themselves. Sure, they come for the tennis, but it's also sort of a bucket list, wanting to be there… it's great to have played also a good first round against an entertaining first-round opponent.

Solid start here from Roger and it was important to kick things off with a routine win after looking a bit ropey in Cincinnati. His serve was pretty solid and seemed to be moving well from the get-go. 56 winners, 15 break points created and saving 8 of the 9 break points faced is decent reading. Other than that I'm not getting carried away as he was playing an opponent who has no real weapons or a set strategy to win points and is on the comeback from a serious injury.

Overall I thought Nishioka played just ok. He's got great speed and quick hands but he played way too deep behind the baseline and looked a little shell-shocked with how little time Roger gave him on the ball. He was competing but hard but it looked a bit man vs boy out there and he only really settled into the match when he broke at the tail end of set three but it was too little too late. Roger just rushed him and overpowered him from the baseline. Interestingly Fed's groundstrokes were up about 10mph from Cincy, that is probably down to the court being a little slower giving you more time to swing but either way at least he was ripping it.

So is Fed ‘back'? Greg Rusedski seems to think so during his commentary (Side note, I think him and Petchy are a poor combination on Amazon Prime as they don't really work that well together) as he was singing his praises throughout. I think you can argue he never really went away as his results are still good, just his level has dropped a touch of late and more guys seem capable of beating him. So for me, it's too early to say if that's changed after beating Nishioka and he's still third or fourth favourite for me at this year's Open.

Predictions vs. Paire

Next up is Benoit Paire who defeated Dennis Novak in four sets. A good win for him but I was tracking the live scores and it looked a very topsy-turvy match. Novak served for the first set at 5-4 but lost it in the tie-break and he was a break up at 4-2 in the third before losing that 7-5.  He was then up a break twice in the fourth before again losing it in a tie-break.  I wasn't watching but that looks like a bit of a choke job to me and a match where Paire could easily have lost in straight sets.

And straights is where I think Thursday's match against Federer is going as I can't see Paire doing too much damage. I'm fairly sure he'll play some tremendous points here and there, but over the course of the match Roger will be too solid, they've practised together plenty of times and Roger has the measure of him dropping just one set in 6 meetings.

What are your predictions? Did any of you see the Paire match? Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Thanks Jon, for a decent writ! For me, it can go with him being either better and better or more and more tired. If the first guess is correct, then I hope you may change favorite in RF’s favor…

      1. Yes, could be like that. Or like in wimbledon losing quater-f in spite of seeming fit. Or cinc. final. Or Halle? But he has a no small chance this time if staying fit, and thereby improving match for match?

  1. I think Paire has a very small chance, being unpredictable and if having enormous luck. But Roger will win – straight!

    1. It would be a hugely surprising and disappointing loss to lose to Paire. Fed just gotta play solid, his solid B game beats Paire in 3. I hope for Juan Monaco style beat down.

  2. Thanks for the update Jonathan!
    When you write his groundstrokes were 10 mps faster than Cincy you mean the finals or the entire event?

    Roger has struggled and have to save MPs against Paire in the last meeting, so it will be intersting to see how this one unfolds.
    I hope to catch live action in the next two rounds. After that it’s working week and getting up to see a match in 2:00 am is unrealistic for me.

    1. Yeah 10mph on average faster than the final I think the stat was the commies got from hawkeye.

      Working week for me too, sleep 10-2 then get up, and hopefully, he gets it done with some time for some more ZzzzZZ

      1. It probably is just as you said – the court is slower so easier to wind up to crank it … and he’s playing a pillow puncher and not an ATG.

      2. Actually the match today will probably be around 2 PM New York time.
        A comfortable evening our. Too bad I have a meeting scheduled at this time.

  3. So pleasing was Fed’s free-flowing game
    But about his outfit I can’t say the same
    Next up is the Frenchman Benoit Paire
    I hope our Fed shows a similar flair

    1. The wanderer returns 😀

      I’m not liking the outfit much either, like FrenchButterfly said, it is like a red wine colour. Should have some different coloured shoes or shorts…

      1. Yes it doesn’t look as great as I first thought. And when sweating through, the color is a bit like overdue tomato-soup. White shorts, socks and shoes might have saved it. But never mind – Fed’s performance lets me forget everything else…

      2. But when Fed wears the Uni Color Uniqlo, somehow it doesn’t look like PJs like it did on poor Novak.

      3. I thought he should mix and match the pieces from the night & day outfits. Also the contrasting piping should be bolder (wider), because it just gets lost in all that raspberry.

  4. Good match up against Paire, a flashy Frenchmen with good hands but average serve. Then again I thought Fed had Anderson’s number as well…
    Under the big lights who knows what will happen. If Paire comes out swinging and fed leaves his forehand in the locker room could be a potential upset. Anyway, Allez Roger!

      1. Although it also occurs to me the extreme weather conditions may be factoring into that. Surely cooler & less humid weather will have some kind of effect. A bit cooler tomorrow, then even more so Friday, is what they’re saying.

  5. Too early to say when this is probably his easiest opponent. Roger played well but his FH is a tad inconsistent ,spraying odd errors here and there. There are some exho type points but nothing to indicate his level. His on court interview shocked the crowd a little, mentioning the ‘R’ word….NOOOOOO……i cant bear it.

    1. He said “almost time to retire” but later said it was a joke as retire to keep his 18-0 1st round USO streak intact. It is almost time to retire though I guess, I’m sure he has it all planned.

      1. oooh…? well didn’t he also say that no plans about it yet? But we’ll see. Hasn’t he promised to come back next year?

  6. Easy win though Roger tried to make it difficult towards the end. His serve and FH started off really well, but kind of disappeared towards the end. Hope that is due to him getting bored and not due to him getting tired. The court is playing really slow and he mentioned during his interview with JMac on Espn that this is the slowest it has played on USO that he can remember. If that is the case, it is not good news for us. I think he will win easy against Paire but the third against Kyrios could get real tricky if Roger is not playing his best tennis. His second serve winning pct needs to improve a whole lot from here. Hope that it is only 48% is due to him taking it easy against poor Nishioka. Spraying too many FH and missed more overheads than he made. But this is first round and against a nobody where he can cruise in third gear. Positive thing is him mentioning to JMac that people shouldn’t read too much into his loss at Cincy.

    1. on Cinci – I would not read too much into it if he hadn’t played so mediocre (for him) on maybe on of his best surfaces over the years.

  7. Couldn’t watch but sounds good so I’m relieved. Thanks Jonathan for the recap. Hope longer highlights or full match become available sometime soon…or better subscribe Eurosport?

  8. Thanks for the post, Jonathan !
    On Eurosport :
    A very nice match from RF.
    I loved :
    The way RF moved – smooth footwork – Dancerer … 🙂 He runs great. My God, at 37. Waouh !
    – Some spectacular shots  – kissing the lines, sometimes far from the opponent – in Laver Cup mode
    – His focus even when the umpire did mistakes…
    – The bordeaux outfit (good French wine)
    – The night session match time (less hot !) and the full packed arena

    About Benoît Paire :

    From  L’équipe (French sports daily) this morning.

    … and you know what ? Roger sweats sometimes ! Incredible.

    Weather on Thursday should be a ..little less hot according to the forecast… will it be day session or night session ?  We’ll see…

    1. Cheers.

      Yeah he moved well I thought. Hopefully continued on the upward curve for R2.

      A 1am start for you, how can you prefer night sessions?! 😀

    2. Interesting article butterfly, thanks.

      Paire: Before, against Federer, I would come on court to win two or three games a set. Having had 2 match points against him in Halle has changed that perspective a bit. I’ll be coming on court with more confidence than the other times.

      Fed: It’s normal for him to believe more in his chances after coming so close in Halle. The conditions are completely different here but I’m always wary of him. It’s up to me to beat him more easily to take that feeling away from him!

  9. I prefer the night sessions for Fed (not for me) because it is less hot.
    For me, I prefer day sessions (after work) for sure – easier with the 6-hour time difference…
    I checked the USO website – the Fed-Paire match will be second after Kerber -Larsson starting at 12:00 pm (midday) – so, day session… in the blazing sun !

    Chum Jetzt and good night  everybody … ZzzZz !  Tsitsi just lost…

  10. thanks for your report and insights. i am depending on highlights and your match report as i don’t have sources to watch. been following fed since 2000, so this is new for me. like you intimated, nishioka was a very promising player until he got hurt, so may not be a clear view of where roger is at right now. but it was quick, no heat problems and from what i saw on highlights, the crowd enjoyed it. i do get tennistv, so i saw him at cincy. i thought his forehand looked a little off. from the vids i saw it looked good. seeing the whole match, what do you think of his forehand?

    1. The court was playing pretty slow. It must be a combination of you watching Roger after a long time and the matchup against Nishioka. Roger mentioned that Cincy was so fast that you can only go cross court which here you have enough time to decide to go either way. He did mention that this is the slowest US Open court that he can remember playing on.

  11. Good to see Fed playing some nice tennis, no matter who is on the other side of the net. I
    was surprised that I quite liked his outfit (the pics of it beforehand looked gross). The nike
    outfits for the men to me look terrible and Rafa’s doesn’t come even come into the terrible
    bracket! Not usually a Murray fan but he played his heart out. So C’mon Roger be good x

    1. What a nice post.I felt there was too much red or is it Burgundy?Perhaps white shorts for contrast.Agree as to Nadal,what a sight and not a pleasant one.?Schapo survives Seppi,but alas no Tsitsy.

  12. Thanks for the write up Jonathan.So fed up about this Amazon Prime business.Cant get it to work on my Mac so have to
    watch it on a tablet instead of a 40 inch TV with Eurosport! To my horror I read somewhere that all the slams shown in the Uk will be in this format next year.Is this so?

  13. Fed playing without purpose, tamely losing serve after a nice break. Does anyone else think that Wilson gave him an absolute log to play with? He gets depth on shots but precision has gone drastically downhill. And, he’s really exaggerating the forehands, finishing super high over his head on many shots, like Djokovic or even Nadal sometimes, and he misses a ton of them.

    1. Thank god Fed is not facing a stronger opponent, Paire is struggling with himself at least as much as with Roger. And our Man is still too passive – even if I believe the conditions are unpleasant. A.Zverev played super-aggressive against Mahut….

      1. At least Paire is preparing Roger for the Kyrgios Match – a lot of weird behavior and unnecessary shots

      2. Kyrgios will beat him. Roger needs to play much more decisively, and to return better. His net game is also pretty weak. The court is bananas slow too.

    1. indeed,strange how these holdco and Doctor Evil(for Christs sake)come piling in when Fed looks remotely
      challenged.If winning in straight sets in that heat and humidity is being challenged.?

      1. a) DrEvil refers to Mike Myers “Austin Powers” movies. So nothing to be bothered about – it is intended to be funny.
        b) I really adore everything about Fed (he convinced in the US Open final 2005 when I intended to go for Agassi) but currently he is not convincing at all so it does not make sense to write down some nice stuff if it is not nice at all especially for his standards.
        c) Have you watched the match ? I’ve been watching the full match, that is why I posted what I posted during the broadcast….

      2. Not true. I come piling in when Fed is playing great, or badly. He wasn’t challenged by his opponent, but by himself. I’m concerned about his volleying, his shanks, and his lackadaisical attitude when it’s time to close the show. It won’t fly against a better opponent, but hopefully he has his best left in the tank still.

      3. I’m looking forward to Jon’s writing. I trust his analyze more than…I MEAN: HOW CAN YOU JUDGE AND FIND A MAN UNCONVINCING, PERFORMING AND WIN AT 31°???? Try it out yourself! I know I would die, or preferably give up, even if I was young and strong and playing tennis!!!

      4. I’m with you, my man, but the mistakes were not from heat fatigue. Neither player was gasping out there. Fed’s mistakes were errors of technique. I’m sure the conditions were hellacious, but some of the stuff he pulled couldn’t be explained by the weather. Maybe that was his last day match, so we’ll see what he’s really got.

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