NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Federer overcame a slow start, then a late lapse, and needed five sets to win a topsy-turvy first-round match at the U.S. Open against 19-year-old American Frances Tiafoe.
The No. 3-seeded Federer got broken in the first game and dropped the opening set, and then appeared to take control before letting a lead slip away. Eventually, he edged the 70th-ranked Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 by breaking serve in the last game.
It was Federer’s 79th career victory at the U.S. Open, equaling Andre Agassi for second-most. Only Jimmy Connors has more, with 98.
Federer played under the closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time. He missed last year’s tournament, when the retractable cover made its debut.
Rafael Nadal also played under the roof on Tuesday and the top-seeded Spaniard complained that the stadium is too loud with the roof closed. Nadal said after a straight-sets, first-round victory over Dusan Lajovic that it was so loud he was unable to hear his opponent hitting the ball. Said Nadal: “All the noise stays inside and this is difficult.”
That was similar to what other players and fans said last year during the inaugural year of the $150 million sliding cover, describing the collected murmurs of the crowd of 20,000 that combined to form a low-grade noise similar to a buzzing hive or a rushing waterfall.
The U.S. Tennis Association Executive Director Gordon Smith said last year that the organization would look into the level of ambient noise in the stadium.
Nadal’s was one of only seven matches completed during the day session Tuesday due to a steady rainstorm.