Federer closes on Connors' mark

 

Another day, another victory, another milestone. Roger Federer moved to second place on the all-time list of Grand Slam victories with his 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 crushing of Israel's Dudi Sela here at the US Open yesterday. The former world No 1's 225th win at a Grand Slam tournament took him clear of Andre Agassi's total and left him just eight short of Jimmy Connors' record.

It is more than 18 months since Federer won his last Grand Slam title, but there is still no player who disposes of also-rans with such apparently effortless ease. The five-times US Open champion needed only 77 minutes to dispose of Sela, the world No 93, to earn a third-round date with either Croatia's Marin Cilic or the Australian Bernard Tomic, who were meeting in a later match.

Federer dropped just seven points on his serve in the whole match. The 30-year-old Swiss took control from the moment he broke for the first time in the sixth game. Two breaks each in the second and third sets ensured that he would not be detained for too long.

"I did not have much trouble on my serve and from the baseline I also thought I had the upper hand," Federer commented afterwards. "When it is like that, obviously it is tough for the opponent.

"I just think I was superior today. It was a good match for me in breezy conditions. It was a bit tricky early on to find the rhythm. That's why I was happy to get the first break in the first set."

Serena Williams, the favourite to win the women's title, had an even easier passage into the last 32. The American beat Michaella Krajicek, a Dutch qualifier, 6-0, 6-1 in just 50 minutes. The world No 173's only game came when she held serve at the start of the second set.

Francesca Schiavone, last year's French Open champion, needed only 53 minutes more to beat Mirjana Lucic 6-1, 6-1, but Jelena Jankovic's 6-3, 6-4 victory over Jelena Dokic came at a cost. The 26-year-old Serb, who reached the final here three years ago, injured her back and received medical attention several times during the match.

"I hurt it in the first set," Jankovic said after her win. "I felt a little restricted when I was hitting my serves and especially when I had to bend down when I was waiting to return her serves. I have a day off tomorrow and I will just try to receive some treatment and feel the best as possible [sic] for my next match."

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