Roger Federer came from a set down to beat former world number one Lleyton Hewitt and earn a last 16 place in the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows.
Hewitt showed glimpses of his glory days by taking the opening set but the top seed hit back to round out a 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-4 victory on the Arthur Ashe Stadium Court. The victory means Federer will keep his world number one status whatever the eventual outcome of the final grand slam of the season. Federer is aiming for a sixth straight title in New York, but after gaining an early break against his Australian opponent, dropped his own delivery twice to give Hewitt the set.
Federer closes on Tilden’s record
Murray and Nadal reach third round
Roddick and Djokovic ease through
Nadal and Federer talk up duel
Murray handed tough U.S. Open draw
Federer quickly reacted to the growing threat posed by Hewitt, who is battling his way back up the rankings after an injury layoff last year. The Swiss star gained an immediate break at the start of the second set and proceeded to level at one set all. The third set was closely contested and Hewitt had four break point chances on Federer’s service until dropping his own in the 11th game. Federer served out for the set and a single break saw him wrap up his 38th consecutive victory at the hardcourt grand slam. He will play either James Blake of the United States or Tommy Robredo of Spain for a place in the quarterfinals as he bids to become the first player since Bill Tilden in the 1920s to win sixth U.S. Open titles in a row. Fourth seed Novak Djokovic later joined Federer in the fourth round after a thrilling 6-7 6-3 7-6 6-4 win over American hope Jesse Witten. Djokovic was struggling on the Louis Armstrong Court after falling behind to the burly qualifier, but he finally edged ahead in a tense third set tiebreak before a single break saw him close out the match in just short of three and a half hours.