Federer on course after blowing Mathieu away

Swiss wastes no time in bid to win sixth US Open title despite stormy weather

Despite the best efforts of Hurricane Earl there was never any chance of Roger Federer being blown off course in his quest to win a sixth US Open title here yesterday. The weather system that has been causing disruption up America's east coast sent litter swirling across the courts and made serving a major challenge for many, but Federer took everything in his stride to beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4 6-3 6-3 in just 99 minutes.

When the former world No 1 lost in the quarter-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon this summer, ending his run of 23 consecutive appearances in Grand Slam semi-finals, there were some who questioned whether he would ever add to his record tally of 16 major titles. But the 29-year-old Swiss bounced back by winning last month's Cincinnati Masters, his first title since the Australian Open at the start of the year, and has looked in ominous form here. He has not dropped a set in his first three matches and rarely gave Mathieu a chance.

Since joining forces at the end of July with a new coach, Paul Annacone, who used to work with Pete Sampras and Tim Henman, Federer has been playing with renewed aggression. He has also restored much of the variety on his serve. Despite the tricky conditions, the Swiss put 13 aces past Mathieu, who was one of six Frenchmen in the third round, an Open era record here.

Gaël Monfils and Richard Gasquet both maintained their winning runs yesterday and will meet in an all-French encounter in the fourth round. Monfils equalled his best performance here by beating Janko Tipsarevic, Andy Roddick's conqueror, 7-6 6-7 6-2 6-4, while Gasquet kept up his recent improvement to beat South Africa's Kevin Anderson 6-4 7-6 6-5.

Gasquet, who has not dropped a set in his first three matches, has not played in the fourth round of a Grand Slam event since losing to Andy Murray at Wimbledon two years ago. The former world No 7 has struggled to recapture his best form since the controversy surrounding his positive drugs test for cocaine last year, when he was off the court for four months. He was No 86 in the world rankings three months ago but is back up to No 38 and will make further progress in next week's updated list.

Robin Soderling is seeded to meet Federer in the quarter-finals and stayed on course with a 6-2 6-3 6-3 defeat of Thiemo de Bakker. The Swede now plays Spain's Albert Montanes, whose opponent, Kei Nishikori, retired in the second set.

Rafael Nadal, having looked below his best against Teymuraz Gabashvili in the first round, moved up a gear with his 6-2 7-6 7-5 victory over Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan on Friday night. John McEnroe is among those who believe the world No 1 can complete his set of Grand Slam titles here, but Nadal patiently dismisses such talk.

"You are focused on this," the Spaniard said when asked what he thought about trying to follow the example of Federer, who finally completed his set of Grand Slam titles at last year's French Open. "Maybe it was a big goal for Roger because he is the best player in history and he needed Roland Garros. He deserved Roland Garros because he had played in three finals there and a semi-final.

"Seriously, for me, completing the Grand Slam at this moment is not a goal. For me the goal is to try to improve my level, to play well in my next match, and we will see what happens next Sunday."

What chance did he think he had of being the best player ever, as he described Federer? "I've never thought about that. I don't think I am ready to be the best in history. I seriously think this is not the right moment to talk about that. I am 24 years and a few months old and to talk about history when you are still playing is difficult.

"I'm very happy with my eight Grand Slams, the Olympics, 18 Masters 1000 titles. In one way I am probably already part of the history of tennis, so I am very happy with that. I don't know if I'm going to have the chance to keep winning Grand Slams. I'm going to try for sure. But be the best in history is almost impossible."

Nadal had not been happy with his serve in the build-up to the year's final Grand Slam event, but a small change under the supervision of Toni Nadal, his uncle and coach, has made all the difference. "I changed the grip a little bit five or six days ago," Nadal said. "I tried to play the serve a little bit more aggressively."

In the quarter-finals Nadal could face David Nalbandian, playing his first Grand Slam tournament for more than 18 months after injury problems. The 28-year-old Argentinian meets Fernando Verdasco of Spain in the third round after an impressive 7-5 6-4 6-2 victory over France's Florent Serra.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home