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Nadal breezes, Federer struggles in US Open victories

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USA Today Sports  Reuters
Nadal returns a shot against Albert Ramos Vinolas on Aug. 18 2017

During his first-round media briefing, he tried to play down the fact that he's one of the favorites, saying: "I think I'm not in the first row of the favorites".

It's not routine for Nadal to complain about noise, but he did on Tuesday.

Even though the U.S. Tennis Association tried to lessen the noise in Arthur Ashe Stadium after the retractable cover's debut during last year's tournament, there was still quite a bit of ambient sound when the top was shut because of rain Tuesday. "He was out for six months [in 2016] and didn't hit a ball".

"It was tough at the beginning", Nadal admitted.

The US hasn't produced a men's singles champion at the majors since Andy Roddick in 2003, and many fans and sportswriters are hoping that the young Tiafoe can build on his remarkable five-set loss to take up the mantle. But the end of the first set was very important.

Against him will be 19-year-old American Tiafoe, who he beat in straight sets at Miami this year and who should not offer too much resistance.

So that means the two best players in the tournament - and in the game, again, after a few years watching Murray and Novak Djokovic occupy their elevated positions - are slated to have their first US Open confrontation in this year's semi-finals. He also won his 10th titles at Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

The victory came a week after Nadal returned to the top of the ATP rankings for the first time since July 2014. "But this was probably the best match we have played against each other". Both have overcome injuries and are enjoying a resurgence.

Murray, seeded number two, was training in the build-up to the final Grand Slam of the year and only revealed his decision after the draw was made. Perhaps predictably, Federer said he appreciated the crowd noise, which got louder as the match got longer.

Kerber then took the same court where she beat Pliskova for the title past year and took another stinging defeat in what's been a season-long slump since winning her second Grand Slam title. The only player ranked inside the top 100 among the three underdogs is Jabeur, who barely got in under the wire at No. 99.

Federer's win furthers anticipation that he'll meet his old rival, Rafael Nadal on the hard courts of Arthur Ashe stadium.

He came through qualifying that year but was stopped by Canada's Milos Raonic in his opening match.

To start we'll look at the draw.

Federer plays a free-flowing, elegant game in which he seems to float about the court at times.

Federer awaits the victor of a match between Mikhail Youzhny of Russian Federation or Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia, and either would be hard-pressed to capture the crowd the way Tiafoe did.

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