Federer took 5 sets to beat American teenager Frances Tiafoe Image: AP
Roger Federer overcame a slow start, then a late lapse, and needed five sets to win a topsy-turvy first-round match at the US Open against 19-year-old American Frances Tiafoe. Current World no. 1 Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, had lesser trouble dispatching Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-2 in the first round.
The No. 3-seeded Federer got broken in the first game and dropped the opening set, and then appeared to take control before letting a lead slip away. Eventually, he edged the 70th-ranked Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 by breaking serve in the last game.
It was Federer's 79th career victory at the US Open, equaling Andre Agassi for second-most. Only Jimmy Connors has more, with 98.
"I didn't have the preparation I was hoping to get. I always knew I was going to come in feeling rusty or not great. I was quite up and down" Federer said after the match.
Federer's biggest rival in the tournament, Nadal, improved on his 13-0 record in US Open first-round matches by beating Serbia's Dusan Lajovic.
The no. 1 seed dominated after a first set that lasted more than an hour. With rain wiping out most of the day's play, Nadal became the first man to complete a match Tuesday.
With his victory, the two-time US Open champion assured that Roger Federer has to reach the semifinals for a chance to regain the no. 1 ranking.
(With inputs from AP)