NEW YORK -- Roger Federer was scuffling against a Spanish lefty -- no, not that one -- at the U.S. Open on Monday night. He lost the first set to Feliciano Lopez, barely won the second, then trailed love-40 to start the third.
And then Federer did the sort of remarkable thing that only Federer does: He won the next 35 points he served. That allowed him to take control of the third set and the match, coming back to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
Asked about that 35-point run, Lopez rolled his eyes and said, "I mean, it's tough. I'm playing against Roger Federer." His voice then trailed off, as if that should be explanation enough.
Federer's response when told of the stat: "That's awesome."
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Next up for the No. 1-ranked Federer, bidding to become the first man to win four consecutive U.S. Open titles since the 1920s: a quarterfinal against No. 5 Andy Roddick, the 2003 champion and the runner-up last year.
Federer is 13-1 against Roddick.
"It's a great record, but it doesn't help me," Federer said. "We'll see how it goes. Andy's always tough at the U.S. Open."
With No. 6 James Blake losing to No. 10 Tommy Haas in five sets earlier Monday, Roddick is the only American man left -- making this the first U.S. Open since 1998 without at least two in the quarterfinals.
Several hours before Federer took to the court in his all-black night ensemble, Roddick was leading 7-6 (6), 2-0 when his fourth-round opponent, No. 9 Tomas Berdych, stopped playing because he had trouble breathing.
So two of Roddick's four foes have quit on him. And both of Roddick's matches that were completed, against men ranked 475th and 68th, were over in three sets.
Now things get a lot more daunting.
"You feel the extra weight of most big matches. That's just the way it is. But I'm excited. I expect a lot of myself," Roddick said. "I don't think anybody else really expects much from me."