Federer marches on at U.S. Open

Tue Sep 7, 2010 1:08am EDT
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By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The easy part is over for Roger Federer. The U.S. Open is about to get a lot harder for the Swiss master.

The 16-times grand slam champion is through to the quarter-finals and in majestic form, but most of his main rivals are too. Only Andy Murray has made an early exit.

Federer booked his place in the last eight with a 6-3 7-6 6-3 win over Jurgen Melzer at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday without ever having to play at his best.

It will take a mighty performance from his rivals to stop him capturing a sixth title at Flushing Meadows but there are some willing challengers ahead.

His next opponent is Robin Soderling, the big-hitting Swede who ended Federer's French Open defense earlier in the season.

If he gets through that, Federer could then face Serbia's Novak Djokovic, who beat him in the semi-finals at the Australian Open in 2008.

There is also Rafa Nadal, as always, lurking on the other side of the draw if they both reach the final. Federer may be the greatest player of all time but nothing is ever assured.

Soderling and Djokovic also moved through to the quarter-finals by winning on Monday.   Continued...

<p>Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return to Jurgen Melzer of Austria during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 6, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine</p>