NEW YORK – Roger Federer gave on Saturday afternoon one of his regularly scheduled tennis masterclasses to an ambitious understudy in the radiant sun for a near-capacity crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. But this time the rattled backs and the right portion were the least.
The underlying theme on this occasion was the professionalism of Federer, and by the time he finalized his tidy 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 third win over Nick Kyrgios, the Aussie was relocated to pay tribute to the 37-year paragon.
"I think we are two very different characters," said Kyrgios, who is crazier on the pitch to generate controversies. "I think it's just the way he tackles things, I could get a sheet from his book." The way he behaves on the pitch, you know, his attitude. I do not want to change myself too much, but I can certainly get rid of things he does in certain situations, he is the ultimate role model for anyone who wants to play. "
Roger Federer gathered a straight-sets victory over Nick Kyrgios, later calling his memorable battle for the net post one of the wilder of his career.
Maria Sharapova improved to 23-0 in US Open night games and defeated No. 10-seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday.
Get data from the US Open 2018 tennis tournament, TV schedule, news coverage, live scores and results on ESPN.
It was a strange, but also joyful, tribute from Kyrgios. After all, he had no reservations about imitating Federer's service activity during the game in the first set – a gesture that could have made a less imperturbable rival to rage.
Not Federer. "Of course, it is unusual to do against you, with your own service." Federer said. "He was in a mood to be merciful, and given the score, he could afford it, he sometimes used my portion with great success, which I am very happy to see, no, I'm kidding. it's as it is. "
That was a typical incident, demonstrating Kyrgios' showmanship and daring – not to mention the talent with which he can even think of such stunts. That he does such things in the heat of an important tennis match is impressive in the same way as a forester who puts his head in the mouth of a grizzly bear. It's nice to see, but there are few foresters who try.
Kyrgios came 1-2 against Federer in this match, with all those games going to a third set tiebreaker. The genius of Kyrgios is undeniable: he is faster than a cat, full of pulling power; his game goes off when a bottle rocket is overloaded with gunpowder. But he falls into dirty moods, loses inspiration and makes terrible choices. At such times he is the anti-Federer.
Early in the game, this seemed to be a next close, excitingly charged encounter between icon and iconoclast. The men tore at service through the first six games, but Federer stumbled and dropped behind 0-40 in the seventh game. He served badly. His backhand was all over the place. Kyrgios played, inspired by Federers word & # 39; to use.
"I knew it was huge to try and get out [that game] in one way or another, "Federer said. & # 39; It does not have to be beautiful. It does not have to be a crazy picture. Only you have to go back to Deuce in one way or another and maybe you can breathe a bit. "
Federer carried out this survival plan, a process that led Kyrgios to suppress a few simple backhandservice trips. It was a lesson in constant adversity, but Kyrgios was not really careful. The pressure on his hit-and-miss game. When Federer changed the setpoint with Kyrgios on 4-5 service, the Aussie turned around and started calling his support team in the player's box.
& # 39; Press, & # 39; Kyrgios said, rationalizing the eruption. "You know, the business end of the first crucial moment was reached, a terrible service game played, I knew how important that first set was, he relaxed right after that and started playing some shots that we all know he can make. he comes first, you can not do much. & # 39;
It was a fair assessment, but it does not really give a fitting tribute to the Federer ideal. Kyrgios is also a spectacular shot-maker. The difference is that he often chooses to go for the spectacular photo, when a safer, more effective copy would do, while Federer's record selection is almost always undeniable. That willingness to pull the trigger for an unexpected shot is the trademark of Kyrgios, but it has a heavy price tag.
"Other boys play the shot you need to hit, and when you get defeated, you think," Maybe I should have hit Nick's shot, "said Federer." Nick goes the other way, he hits that shot, but if he does not win that point, he might say to himself: "Well, maybe I should have hit a normal shot."
Roger Federer impresses Nick Kyrgios in his match, but his running forehand winner may be the shot of the tournament as recorded in the AI IBM Highlights.
Federer gave a vivid illustration of his point. Serving 5-all, 40-15 in the third set, Kyrgios tried a surprise shot at the wrong time. If he had made the move, Federer would feel challenged to serve to get into a crack. Instead, the dropshot never cleared the grid and Federer continued serving.
"He chooses to go for a kind of the dropshot, which ultimately cost him the game," said Federer. "That is why we are super consistent again, let him hit that extra ball, because if you play like that, it can also work against you."
The unique talent of Federer is to play spontaneously, free-flowing tennis that never betrays an underlying, strict discipline. It is not only that his recording selection is impeccable; he also patiently tolerates the wild fluctuations, antics and distractions created by a player like Kyrgios. If anything can be rubbed off by osmosis, Kyrgios may have learned something on Saturday. It could be the only way he would, because he opposed hiring a full-time coach. He is not more certain of what lies in his future than anyone else.
"I get a lot to hear, what do you want from your career? & # 39;" Kyrgios said. "I would not say that I am satisfied with my career, I think there is much more to do … I have been working for about four years now, I have hardly done anything, I think I am a As I said, it's all mental with me, I think, if I want it enough, I have a coaching option, psychology option, I think there's a lot more to explore. "
They say that even the longest journey begins with a first step. Perhaps the lesson that Kyrgios did on Saturday is that step.