Roger Federer survived a stiff challenge from American upstart Frances Tiafoe to advance in five sets at the US Open on Tuesday night.
The third-seeded Federer escaped with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 win over the 19-year-old in his return to Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It was more than a test,” Federer said after the victory. “It was a good one.”
Tiafoe, a Maryland native who now resides in Florida, is ranked 70th in the world and has never been past the second round at a Grand Slam tournament.
“Frances fought well, I must say,’’ Federer said. “He started to serve better again in patches. When things connect for him, he’s a very good player and he’s going to have a great future ahead for himself.”
Fresh off his eighth Wimbledon victory, Federer is looking to add his sixth career US Open title as the men’s draw is fairly wide open with several other big names, including Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, not playing in this year’s tournament.
Federer will next face the winner of the match between Mikhail Youzhny and Blaz Kavcic, which was postponed due to rain Tuesday, with a potential semifinal match against top-seeded Rafael Nadal looming.
With his 79th career win at the US Open, Federer has tied Andre Agassi for the second-most behind Jimmy Connors’ 98 victories at Flushing Meadows.
“I’m very happy with the match,” Federer said afterward. “It was exciting and it’s kind of why I came to New York as well — to go through these emotions.”