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Federer feasted on very late snack

Third seed quickly dispatched Monaco

By Karen Crouse
New York Times News Service / September 7, 2011

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NEW YORK - In the stands, a cellphone rang during Juan Monaco’s final service game against Roger Federer at the US Open.

At least it sounded like a cellphone. Maybe it was a chirping alarm.

It was 1:04 a.m., 74 minutes into Federer’s 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 victory against Monaco in a fourth-round match that began at 11:50 p.m. Monday and ended at 1:12 a.m. yesterday.

“I’m extremely pleased with my reaction out there,’’ said Federer, a five-time Open champion. “I played really well, crisp, nice. I felt fantastic.’’

Federer had 42 winners and 21 unforced errors and never faced a break point in the 1:22 blowout. About the only thing he wasn’t able to dictate was his starting time, which was 10 minutes shy of the tournament record.

Monaco, an Argentine, had dropped only one set in his first three matches but lost the first set in 19 minutes after recording one winner to Federer’s 10. He finished with 23 unforced errors and four winners.

“It’s crazy how our schedules change all the time,’’ Federer said. “As a tennis player, it makes it extremely difficult to be on your A game every single day.’’

Last year, Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, said during a Tennis Channel telecast, “Nobody trains to go to play at midnight. No player can be ready for that.’’

She added, “How do you stay awake? Drink some coffee.’’

Federer said he drank coffee during the day but did not have any after 5 p.m., when he arrived on the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Meanwhile, Caroline Wozniacki knew her lengthy match was delaying bedtime for a certain fan of hers: boyfriend Rory McIlroy, the US Open golf champion.

Tennis players can’t use cellphones or computers when they’re on court, so the top-seeded Wozniacki had no way of knowing that McIlroy tweeted, “COME ON!!!!!!’’ at 10:49 p.m. Monday night. There still were 40 minutes to be played in Wozniacki’s 6-7, (8-6), 7-5, 6-1 comeback victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova, which put the 21-year-old from Denmark into the quarterfinals for the third year in a row.

“I know Rory was watching, so I think I kept him up for quite some time. I feel a bit guilty,’’ Wozniacki said with a smile after the 3:02 match. “Now he can sleep well, because I won.’’

Wozniacki trailed by a set and 4-1 in the second, a daunting deficit for anyone.

“I was basically out of the tournament at one point,’’ she said.

But she took four consecutive games there to start turning things around, and wound up winning 12 of the match’s last 14 games to extend her bid to win her first Grand Slam title.

She finished with 26 unforced errors, 52 fewer than Kuznetsova.

“She was a wall,’’ Kuznetsova said. “To break a wall, you cannot hit hard. You have to mix it up.’’

Wozniacki will play 10th-seeded Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals today, and said there are no concerns about having spent so much time on court Monday. Wozniacki’s match didn’t end until 11:29 p.m., and she didn’t hold her news conference until an hour later.

Rain again paid an unwelcome visit yesterday, washing out the day and night sessions and postponing the men’s and women’s fourth-round singles matches until today. Weather has created such regular chaos with the Open schedule - it has delayed the men’s final from Sunday to Monday the last three years - that cancellations and delays have become as much a part of the scene at the National Tennis Center as overpriced sandwiches.

Under the refigured schedule, No. 2 Rafael Nadal will play Gilles Mueller in the first match at Arthur Ashe Stadium at 11 a.m., followed by No. 1 Novak Djokovic against Janko Tipsarevic. The night matches at Ashe will be Serena Williams against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No. 3 Roger Federer against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The revised schedule puts Andy Roddick against No. 5 David Ferrer at Louis Armstrong Stadium - the first time Roddick will play on a court other than Ashe in eight years. That will be followed by No. 9 Samantha Stosur against No. 2 Vera Zvonereva.

No. 4 Andy Murray will play American Donald Young in the first match at the Grandstand Court, followed by John Isner against Gilles Simon.

That condenses two days of matches into a day, so if the rain holds off the rest of the week, the tournament would remain on schedule to finish Sunday. Further delays or cancellations would complicate things further.