Roger Federer reigns over Marcel Granollers in four sets after delay


Roger Federer reacts after his four-set victory over Marcel Granollers in a fourth-round men's singles match on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 at the U.S. Open. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivna

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In the end, everything went swimmingly for Roger Federer.

He appeared to be drowning in his U.S. Open third-round match against Spaniard Marcel Granollers Sunday, down 5-2 in the first set when lightning -- then heavy rain -- suspended play at 4:35 p.m..

But when action resumed two hours later, Granollers' apparent control was revealed to be a mirage. Granollers, the world's 42nd-ranked player, was able to hold on to the first set -- barely -- but Federer then won 18 of the next 21 games for a thoroughly routine 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

"It was windy and quick" before the delay, Federer noted, "and when we came back, the wind had stopped and it was just humid. For me, I just tried to play solid, figure things out a little bit. It was one of those things where you just weather the storm."

Figuratively and literally. The whiplash change of momentum reinforced what so often is observed about Federer, five times this tournament's champion and a 17-time Grand Slam winner.

"He makes it look easy," said Venus Williams, herself a holder of seven major titles. "And he never complains."

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No complaints, unless one considers this little grumble when Federer recently was asked about playing in the wind. "You can't go for the lines as much," he said. "Which then is a bit boring."

In the Open, Federer's play has not resembled anything close to being tedious. On top of his varied skills -- a recent survey listed him among the top five pros for the best forehand, one-hand backhand, volley, first serve, second serve and overhead -- Federer this summer has added more aggression to his game.

Sunday night, he went to the net 51 times and surrounded Granollers with all manner of offense, starting with his serve: 13 aces (no double faults), 61 percent of his first serves in play.

At 33, Federer appears as quick as ever, and he acknowledged that "I feel very explosive, quick. The coordination is there as well. I'm very pleased. I'm happy to wake up every day and I'm ready to go."

Though he hasn't won a major title since Wimbledon in 2012, or the Open since 2008, he said, "I hope I'm a better player" than during his run of 11 Slams between 2004 and 2007.

"I feel I have more power in my serve," he said. "I volley better now, I guess. I've gotten to understand so many things. But the thing back then, I was unbelievably confident, coming through stretches where I couldn't lose to a Top 10 player.

"I didn't remember losing, how it happened or how it would work. I haven't won as much as I did back then. That could make a difference. Otherwise, I'm very pleased with how things are going this year."

The hot, humid day -- a day of many shirt changes -- began with No. 4 seed David Ferrer of Spain going down to defeat against No. 26 Gilles Simon of France, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Ferrer, one of the more tireless players on the tour, appeared totally exhausted during the last few games, once checking his pulse, but insisted that he was fine and that Simon "was better; that's it."

Ferrer, unlike Federer, didn't figuratively weather the weather.

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