Roger Federer began his campaign to win a record sixth US Open with a comfortable 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory on Monday over America’s Donald Young, whose season of under-achievement hit another low.
Top seed Federer, playing in his 52nd consecutive grand slam tournament, brushed aside his 81st-ranked opponent, who only last week stopped a run of 17 defeats in a row but who now stands at three wins and 22 losses this year.
Federer, who won his 17th grand slam trophy courtesy of his seventh Wimbledon title in July, goes on to face German veteran Bjorn Phau for a place in the last 32.
The Swiss star’s win was also the first step on his way to erasing the disappointment of last year, when he squandered a two-sets-to-love lead and match points to lose to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
“It hurt like crazy to lose like that, but Novak deserved the title. He was the man of the year,” said Federer, whose win on Monday was also his 22nd in 22 night session outings at the US Open.
“But I played fantastic at Wimbledon and to come back here as world number one again is crazy. I’m the big favourite, so I hope to put up a great fight and continue to enjoy myself.”
Federer won five titles in succession in New York from 2004 to 2008, but was runner-up to Juan Martin del Potro in 2009 before Rafael Nadal and Djokovic claimed the two most recent editions.
Young, meanwhile, will see his world ranking slump to around 120 next week as a consequence of his failure to match his best performance at a major, a run to the final 16 last year.
But Federer had words of encouragement for the defeated American.
“He’s a great player, but maybe he needs to understand the tour more, about the grind of the outside courts,” said the world number one.
“But there’s no way past the hard work, day in, day out.”