NEW YORK (Reuters) - As a five-time winner of the U.S. Open, Roger Federer knows what it takes to win at Flushing Meadows and the Swiss master expects that knowledge will carry him a long way toward a sixth title.
Federer is the only player left in the men’s draw who has won the championship before, just one of the many advantages he holds over his rivals.
“It’s definitely an advantage,” Federer said. “But again, I’m not at match point serving for it, so still a lot of hard work to do.”
Federer’s will meet his next opponent, Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, on Saturday in Arthur Ashe Stadium with a spot in the final 16 on the line. They have played each other four times before, with Federer victorious each time.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, who lost the 2007 U.S. Open final to Federer but is lurking as one of his biggest dangers this year, is also playing on the center court on Saturday, but may have more to contend with than just his opponent.
The American James Blake is not only a former top-10 player but a real crowd favorite in New York and Djokovic is bracing for a real struggle.
“James always plays well here. He knows how it feels like to play on a big stage in important matches,” Djokovic said. “He’s a very aggressive player and I have no doubt that he’s going to have that mindset when we step on the court.”
American teenage wildcard recipient Beatrice Capra will make her first appearance on Arthur Ashe stadium against Russia’s former champion Maria Sharapova.
It looms as a mismatch of huge proportions but Sharapova remains wary about Capra, if for no other reason that she hardly knows a thing about her.
“I know that she’s American and she’s 18, I believe,” Sharapova said. “And she’s in the third round of the Open. So that says a lot.”
If Sharapova survives, she could face Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in a mouthwatering fourth-round clash.
Wozniacki, the women’s top seed, will next play Taiwan’s Chan Yung-Jan in Louis Armstrong Stadium after winning her two previous matches on center court with ridiculous ease.
Her second-round match lasted just 47 minutes and she is in great form after winning three tournaments last month but refusing to even think about Sharapova.
“If I was gonna say, ‘the quarter-finals I’m gonna play this girl and the finals I’m playing this girl’, I mean, you never know what’s gonna happen,” Wozniacki said.
“It’s tennis and you need to fight for every match.”
Editing by Frank Pingue