By Rory Carroll
NEW YORK, Aug 30 – Second seed Roger Federer defeated a frustrated Benoit Paire 7-5 6-4 6-4 at the U.S. Open on Thursday to set up a third-round match against Nick Kyrgios.
Despite the win Federer was far from flawless, especially in the third set when he saw a 4-1 lead evaporate and fell 5-4 behind due to some uncharacteristically poor serving.
But he bounced back to see off the bearded Frenchman, who acted erratically throughout the match – screaming wildly, tossing his racquet and kicking the ball after sending it into the net.
“It’s different,” Federer said of playing the unpredictable Paire, who was at times brilliant but still managed 47 unforced errors and 11 double faults in the two-hour affair.
Federer, who double faulted three times and committed 13 unforced errors in the third set, admitted he was not at his best but was happy to advance.
“It was a bit sort of up and down,” he said.
“I think it’s always tricky against Benoit. There’s a lot of tactics going on. Never quite the same point.”
“Sometimes he plays very deep in the court, then he plays up in the court. That’s maybe why you draw errors out of each other rather than winners at the end,” he said.
“The match maybe doesn’t look so good.”
Next up for the 37-year-old is a hotly-anticipated clash with Australia’s Kyrgios, who recovered to beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert earlier on Thursday.
“We’ve had some brutal matches over the years. We enjoy playing against each other,” said Federer.
“He has one of the best serves in the game and he’s super talented.”
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Ferris/Greg Stutchbury)