HOPES of seeing Roger Federer claim a third Grand Slam this year remain alive after the Swiss maestro survived an opening round scare at the US Open.
US prodigy Frances Tiafoe pushed the 19-time Grand Slam champion to five sets in their encounter at Flushing Meadows, where Federer remains the favourite to lift the trophy.
The 19-year-old - regarded as one of the USA's most exciting up and coming prospects - made quite the statement, winning the opening set 6-4.
But it was not meant to be with Federer - whose record of never losing in the opening round in New York remains in tact - prevailing 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 after two hours and 47 minutes.
"That was more than a test," Federer said. "I'm happy with the match, it was exciting.
"I had a slow start, he was so good from the beginning. I was worried about my back issue from a few weeks ago. Fourth set was a pit I couldn't get into the driving seat. When things connect for him, he's great, he's going to have a very good future."
When asked about his fitness, Federer added: "Extremly well, I'm back this year, I wasn't here last year.
"To get through five sets you have to be OK somehow."
Federer will next meet either Russia's Mikhail Youzhny or Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic as he chases a record sixth US Open crown.
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