Swiss great Roger Federer squandered an early service break but recovered in time to win the first set and then cruise through the next two to defeat Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the US Open.
His third-round showdown is against mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios.
The 37-year-old Federer, a five-time champion at this hard-court Grand Slam event, seemed to be off to the races when he broke Paire’s serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead on Thursday.
But Paire got the service break back and then proceeded to grab a 5-4 advantage, reports Efe news.
The Swiss maestro broke the Frenchman’s serve again, however, in the 11th game en route to clinching the first set.
Federer cruised through the second set without losing his serve and then snagged a 4-1 lead with two service breaks in the third set.
Although he gave one of them back with a sloppy service game, the No. 2 seed quickly righted the ship to clinch the victory in just under two hours.
Next up for Federer in the third round will be the talented but maddeningly inconsistent Kyrgios, who rallied from a slow start to defeat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 6-0 on Thursday, turning the match around after a controversial incident in which the umpire came down from his chair and appeared to give the 23-year-old Australian player a pep talk.
The 30th-seeded Kyrgios has played close matches against Federer — winner of a record 20 Grand Slam men’s singles title — in all three of their previous meetings.
In their lone contest on hard court, Federer won a riveting battle at the 2017 Miami Open 7-6 (11-9), 6-7 (9-11), 7-6 (7-5).