Roger Federer began his defense of the U.S. Open title with a routine straight sets victory over American wildcard Devin Britton at Flushing Meadows on Monday.
The world number one beat the 18-year-old NCAA champion 6-1 6-3 7-5 in an entertaining first round match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court. It extends his remarkable winning streak at the U.S. Open to 35 matches as he bids to win a sixth consecutive title at the hardcourt grand slam. Federer breezed through the first set for the loss of a single game, but Britton served notice of his promise by breaking to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. Sensing the danger, the Swiss maestro stepped up a gear to take the next five games to close out the second set. Britton, who went for broke with a total of 32 winners, took advantage of a sloppy game by Federer to break again for 4-3 in the third set, only to be let down by unforced errors in the next game as the 15-time grand slam champion broke back.
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The games went with service until the 12th game where Britton, needing to hold to force a tiebreak, folded under pressure and Federer claimed victory after one hour 28 minutes on his second matchpoint. Federer, who is bidding for his third grand slam title of a triumphant year, will next play German Simon Greul, who beat Ecuador’s Giovanni Lapentti 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-0 7-6 in a marathon five-setter. In other early first round action on Monday, Robin Soderling, who was runner-up to Federer at the French Open this year, beat Alberto Montanes of Span 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-4. The 12th-seeded Swede upset Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, paving the way for Federer to win the claycourt grand slam for the first time. Third seed Nadal, returning to his best after injury, and second-ranked Andy Murray begin their U.S. Open campaigns on Tuesday.