NEW YORK – The men kept the bracket almost fully intact on Friday as they finished the second round. The night wrapped up with 5-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer winning in straight sets vs. Australian Sam Groth, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
David Ferrer, the fourth seed and two-time semi-finalist here, was the first to advance today, earning a free pass as Australian Bernard Tomic pulled out before their match. Tomic explained that his left hip was hurting, and he did not want to take changes. He had surgery on both hips earlier this year.
First up in Arthur Ashe Stadium, 6th seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic needed five sets and nearly four hours to defeat Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
Crowd-favorite Gael Monfils, the 20th seed this year, is moving on to the third round after topping Alejandro Gonzalez 7-5, 6-3, 6-2, despite committing 43 unforced errors. This was Gonzalez's first U.S. Open. Monfils converted 7 of 17 break points in the match.
After 7th seed Grigor Dimitrov, 12th seed Richard Gasquet, 14th seed Marin Cilic, 17th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, 18th seed Kevin Anderson, 19th seed Feliciano Lopez, and 26th seed Gilles Simon also advanced, the crowd was craving an upset.
Finally, around midway, they got one. The 11th seed, Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, was the first seeded player to go, as Austrian Dominic Thiem came back from two sets down to best him 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. This is Thiem's first U.S. Open.
Then, before a standing-room-only crowd on Court 13, France's Adrian Mannarino defeated 15th seed Fabio Fognini of Italy, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. The crowd was heavily favoring Fognini when the match started, but soon flipped, giving into the Frenchman's charisma. Mannarino came out on top of a marathon volley to break Fognini at 4-1 in the 3rd set. He then held serve for the win, earning a long ovation as he celebrated on court.
At that point, dusk had fallen in Flushing Meadows, and there were two men's matches left. Federer and Australian Sam Groth were about to take the court in Ashe, while Marcel Granollers of Spain and 25th seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia were in an all-out battle on Court 6.
Granollers and Karlovic went to tiebreaks in the first three sets, with Granollers claiming two. Karlovic took the fourth set 6-3 to set up an all-or-nothing fifth set. Each held serve through 8 games. Arthur Ashe Stadium ticketholders were lined up along the upperlevel walkways and the outer staircases of Ashe, craning their necks to watch the outer-court duel. The match was briefly interupted when the lights were accidently turned off, leaving the players and fans baffled. Karlovic stretched and paced along the sideline. After 10 minutes, which felt much longer in the cool, consistent breeze, the lights flickered back on.
At 4-all in the fifth set, Granollers finally claimed the break point he needed. He served for the win without a problem.
Karlovic finished with 31 aces, to Granollers's 7. Between them, there were only 12 unforced errors in the entire match. Granollers advanced to the 4th round here in 2013; to match that performance, he'll have to defeat Federer, who is seeking his 6th U.S. Open championship and first since 2008.
Gulbis and Fognini are the only of the top-20 seeds to be knocked out of the men's bracket. The third round will feature players from 19 countries, including six Spanish, five French, two American and two Swiss.