Roger Federer will stroll into the third round of the U.S. Open. Kei Nishikori might crawl.
Second-seeded Federer breezed through his match at steamy Flushing Meadows on Thursday, defeating Germany's Andreas Beck 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The match ended simultaneously with Nishikori's upset win over No. 11 Marin Cilic on Court 13.
But they didn't start at the same time.
Federer needed 1 hour, 41 minutes; Nishikori's win in the 95-degree weather was a strength-sapping, cramp-inducing, injury break-filled marathon that took one minute short of five hours. Nishikori won the second-round match 5-7, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1. He was cramping through most of the match, especially when he was falling behind two sets to one.
"I was thinking about it in the fourth set, mostly," Nishikori said. "Even if I win this, I have to play one more set. It's not going to be easy for me, with the cramping. But I was able to fight through, yeah."
Federer, meanwhile, is trying to make his seventh straight U.S. Open final. Keeping things quick and easy during the first week has been key to all that success and, against Beck, he stayed with the plan.
"It's about just saving your energy for the really big match coming up, maybe the next one," Federer said.
The five-time champion served 15 aces, hit 29 winners and won dozens of short, easy points for his second consecutive easy match this week.
"It's the perfect start, sure," Federer said. "I played Monday, had two days off. I had another easy one physically (Thursday), and here I am in the third round feeling like I'm completely in the tournament."
Tampa's Mardy Fish enjoyed a straight-sets victory, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 over Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. James Blake, also of Tampa, beat Canadian Peter Polansky 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia lost 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to Richard Gasquet of France. Davydenko, who broke his left wrist this year and is still rounding into form, called the loss inexplicable.
Also gone is No. 9 Andy Roddick. The highest-ranked American man carried on a running argument with a lineswoman over a third-set foot fault and lost to 44th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (4) late Wednesday night.
On the women's side Thursday, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki thumped Chang Kai-chen of Taiwan 6-0, 6-0.
Also, 18-year-old wild-card entry Beatrice Capra, ranked 371st, upset 18th-seeded Aravane Rezai of France 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.