NEW YORK — Roger Federer improved to 18-0 in first-round matches at the U.S. Open and took one step toward a potential quarterfinal showdown against Novak Djokovic.
Dressed from head to toe in a plum-colored outfit, the 20-time major champion delivered 14 aces and never was in any trouble during a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory over 117th-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night.
Federer saved the first eight break points he faced before finally faltering by pushing a forehand long on the ninth, losing serve for the only time while trying to close out the match at 5-2 in the third set. By then, the match was 1 hour, 45 minutes old - and it would last another seven minutes.
The No. 2-seeded Federer is seeking his sixth title at the U.S. Open, but first in a decade.
He would face 13-time major champion Djokovic if each wins three more matches.