Tough tests from the start for Federer, Murray

Sun Aug 30, 2015 6:30pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roger Federer and Andy Murray, two of the hottest players on the U.S. hardcourts during the run-up to the U.S. Open, face difficult tests right from the start at the season's final grand slam starting on Monday.

Second seed Federer, who beat world number one Novak Djokovic in the Cincinnati final and is striving to add to his record 17 grand slam singles titles, plays 34th-ranked Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.

Third seeded Murray, who defeated Djokovic in the Montreal final, faces number 37 Nick Kyrgios, the talented 20-year-old Australian who is on ATP probation after making a crude personal remark to Stan Wawrinka on court in Montreal.

Federer has been brandishing an aggressive style of play, forcing the action and rushing in to half-volley weak second serves to forge an advantage.

"My game is going very well. My volleying has been very good lately and very proactive going forward and I think my serve has been unbelievable lately," said Federer.

Federer, 34, who won five consecutive U.S. Open titles from 2004 but has not been back to the finals since 2009, holds Mayer in high regard.

"I didn't know he was unseeded. Total shock for me to see I was going to play him," Federer said. "It's really tough to be playing Leonardo Mayer."

Federer narrowly won their only previous meeting 7-5 3-6 7-6(7) last year in the second round of the Shanghai ATP Masters.   Continued...

Aug 22, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Roger Federer (SUI) looks on against Andy Murray (not pictured) in the semifinals during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at the Linder Family Tennis Center.  Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports