Five-time winner Roger Federer brought out his best game under the lights for the first time this week at the US Open to pound out a 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 third-round win over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino on Saturday.
The Swiss seventh seed is fighting to rebalance a season which by his standards has been lacking, with only one title, an early Wimbledon loss and back pain which compromised August on European clay.
But the 32-year-old with a record 17 grand slam titles was back in flowing form at the Asher stadium, even if his royal blue shorts and dark blue shirt failed to make much of a colour match as judged by a rash of tweets regarding his debut night-time look.
Federer improved to 67-8 at the tournament and next plays for the quarter-finals against Tommy Robredo, a winner over Brit Dan Evans 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, 4-6, 7-5. The Swiss leads that series 10-0.
Mannarino saved two match points in the penultimate game, with Federer advancing after just over 80 minutes on his fourth winning chance.
“There is always pressure to come out here and play well,” said Federer, who struck 34 winners. “Tonight was one of those nights. I was able to play a great match, I’m very pleased with the outcome.
“I was able to use my serve well in the wind. Once I won the first set I was playing with the lead and that makes things easier.” Second seed Rafael Nadal continued his season hard-court domination with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Ivan Dodig, which gave the Spanish second seed his 18th consecutive win on cement this season.
The player with an ATP-leading nine titles in 2013 is bearing down on a possible return to the number one ranking if his performance exceeds that of top seed Novak Djokovic by the end of the event.
Nadal rolled over another opponent without ceremony, reaching the second week of the major with the loss of just 21 games. He has so far not lost serve and has offered opponents only five break chances from four matches.
“I think I played a correct match today against a player who came to this tournament winning against tough opponents like Davydenko and Verdasco,” said Nadal. “To be able to win against him in straight sets is great news.
“I played better today than in the previous matches, that’s always a positive thing. Every win means a lot. I’m happy with the way that I am playing, and I’m try to be ready for the next.” Nadal won his 56th match of 2013 as he beat Croatia’s Dodig after losing to him in 2011 at Montreal.
Compatriot David Ferrer kept pace as the fourth seed beat Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Canadian 10th seed Milos Raonic reached the fourth round in New York for the second year in a row thanks to a defeat of Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
German Philipp Kohlschreiber rolled American 13th seed John Isner 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) for the second year in a row in New York.
Former top 10 Serb Janko Tipsarevic eliminated Jack Sock of the US in a 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, 6-2 comeback.
In women’s play, second seed Victoria Azarenka erupted at the chair umpire after what appeared to be a winner on set point in the second was over-ruled. But the two-time Australian open champion went on to post a defeat of France’s Alize Cornet 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-2.
Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi, 21, upset sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, winning on her fifth match point with a forehand drive against the former number one. There will an an Italian in the quarters when Giogri takes on compatriot and tenth seed Roberta Vinci, who beat Karin Knapp 6-4, 6-3.
American Alison Riske made a surprise move into the fourth round as she took advantage of the ill health of Petra Kvitova to defeat the seventh seed 6-3, 6-0.
The 23-year-old winner, who won her only other career grand slam matches this summer in reaching the Wimbledon third round, was faced the 2011 Wimbledon champion who had been in a clinic the day before for blood tests regarding a virus she is carrying.
“Unfortunately I was lying in the bed yesterday and I had a fever,” said Kvitova. “I tried to play, tried to fight. But my body wouldn’t let me to fight.
Former number one Ana Ivanovic, seeded 13th, put out Christina McHale of the US 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Romanian Simona Halep, the New Haven champion and winner of three other WTA titles since the French Open, crushed Russian 14th seed Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-0 and next will play Italian Flavia Pennetta, who beat double grand slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1.