Flushing Meadows, NY - Roger Federer had little trouble in his first-round match Tuesday at the U.S. Open, while Spain's David Ferrer also advanced.
Federer, the five-time champion at Flushing Meadows, eased past Australia's Marinko Matosevic, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), to start the night session at Ashe Stadium.
The second-seeded Swiss superstar hasn't reached the final at the U.S. Open since 2009 and hasn't won the title since the last of his five straight in 2008. Last year's surprising fourth-round loss to Tommy Robredo was his earliest exit since 2003.
Federer has had a resurgent year after not reaching a Grand Slam final in 2013. He reached the final at Wimbledon earlier this summer, losing to Novak Djokovic in a stellar five-set title match at the All England Club, then prepped for the U.S. Open with a couple of strong hardcourt events. He lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Toronto final and beat Ferrer for the Cincinnati crown.
The solid play continued Tuesday. Federer broke serve once in each of the first two sets and never had his own serve threatened. He dropped a mere four points on serve in a dominant second set.
After another break early in the third, Matosevic finally dented Federer's serve to event the set at 4-4. It went to a tiebreaker and Federer won six of the last seven points after falling behind 3-1.
"He's got big shots and a big game, especially on the return," said Federer about Matosevic in an on-court interview after the match. "I'm happy I'm through. It was a bit more difficult in the third set than I wanted it to be. He put up a good fight."
Next up for Federer will be another Australian in the second round, as Sam Groth advanced with a three-set win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.
The fourth-seeded Ferrer needed four sets to best Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ferrer, twice a semifinalist in 11 previous trips to the U.S. Open, claimed a 6-1, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 triumph and will next play Australia's Bernard Tomic in round two.
Other seeded winners Tuesday included Japan's Kei Nishikori, American John Isner, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, Italy's Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils of France.
The 10th-seeded Nishikori stifled American journeyman Wayne Odesnik, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. Nishikori, who became the first-ever Japanese player to crack the Top 10 earlier this year, missed the U.S. Open tune-up events in Toronto and Cincinnati because of a toe injury.
"It's been pretty good," said Nishikori about the injury. "I fell a couple of times, but otherwise, almost perfect. Didn't affect my game. So it's been feeling really well."
Odesnik received a wild card into the Open, his first appearance here in five years, after serving a year-long ban for getting caught with human growth hormone.
The 13th-seeded Isner launched 26 aces in a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) victory over fellow American Marcos Giron. Isner has reached just one quarterfinal in his seven previous trips to the USTA National Tennis Center.
"I played a great second set," said Isner. "I wish the third set would have been easier. I had a lot of chances. So if there's one disappointing thing from today it's not converting on those chances, especially in the third set. I had some in the first set, as well. But all in all, I'm happy with it in straight sets."
Meanwhile, the 12th-seeded Gasquet got past Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, the 15th-seeded Fognini foiled Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, and the 20th-seeded Monfils thumped American Jared Donaldson, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
In other play involving seeds, No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut got past Andreas Haider-Maurer, 5-7, 7-6 (7-1), 1-6, 7-5, 6-foot-10 No. 25 Croat Ivo Karlovic fired 24 aces in beating Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; No. 26 Frenchman Gilles Simon rolled past Radu Albot of Moldova, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; No. 28 Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez topped Taiwan's Yen-Hsun Lu, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2; and 17-year-old Croat Borna Coric took out No. 29 Czech Lukas Rosol, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. Rosol was fresh off his hardcourt title last week in North Carolina.
In other matches featuring Americans, Sam Querrey outlasted Argentine Maximo Gonzalez, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, and Spaniard Pablo Andujar was leading Jack Sock, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, when Sock retired with an injury.
The first round concludes Wednesday with 16 more matches and the second round also begins.
First-round action will include sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych against 2001 U.S. Open champ Lleyton Hewitt and seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov against American Ryan Harrison. Australian Open champ Stan Wawrinka will face Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci in one of two second-round tilts.