Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic win
NEW YORK -- Roger Federer will stroll into the third round of the U.S. Open.
Kei Nishikori -- he 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 -- a match that ended simultaneously with Nishikori's upset win over No. 11 Marin Cilic on Court 13.
Novak Djokovic reached the third round at the U.S. Open with a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory over 52nd-ranked Philipp Petzschner of Germany. Play was delayed in the eighth game while police escorted away three fans after a fight in the upper deck in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
American Mardy Fish also advanced to the third round with a 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas, and fifth-seeded Robin Soderling defeated American Taylor Dent 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. Richard Gasquet helped France improve on its strong U.S. Open showing with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 upset over sixth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.
Federer needed 1 hour, 41 minutes, while 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.
"I'm pretty tired, of course," Nishikori said. "I was cramping from the second set. But I kept fighting, fighting."
Question now is, how fast can he recover? This is his fifth match at Flushing Meadows -- a span that began not this week but last, when he won three times to make it into the main draw from qualifying.
Nishikori is trying to duplicate his run from two years ago when he became the first Japanese man to reach the fourth round at the U.S. Open since 1937.
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.
The five-time champion served 15 aces, hit 29 winners and won dozens of short, easy points for his second straight 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 today, and here I am in the third round feeling like I'm completely in the tournament."
The No. 3-seeded Djokovic has made it at least this far all six times he's played at Flushing Meadows. He lost in the final in 2007 and then the semifinals in 2008 and 2009 -- each time to Federer. They could meet in this year's semifinals.
The 19th-seeded Fish finished third in this year's U.S. Open Series and would make a $250,000 bonus if he wins the U.S. Open.
"I've been in a lot of positions in my career, but I've never put myself in a Grand Slam sort of as a guy that people talk about to really do well here," Fish said.
Fish served 14 aces en route to a victory that took two hours.
Soderling, who has reached the final at the French Open for two straight years, needed five sets for his first-round victory at Flushing Meadows but had a much easier time with Dent.
Dent got buzz last year when he played in his first U.S. Open in three years, after recovering from a pair of delicate operations on his back. He won two matches last year before losing to Andy Murray.
This time it was Soderling knocking him out in a 92-minute match in which both players topped 140 mph on their serve, but Soderling had 14 aces to only nine from Dent.
Gasquet, ranked 38th, moves on to the third round. Even before Thursday's match, he was helping make history -- one of a record 12 Frenchmen to make it to the second round at Flushing Meadows. Fellow Frenchman Arnaud Clement was leading 6-3, 5-5 when Eduardo Schwank of Argentina retired Thursday.
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Gasquet missed more than two months last year after testing positive for cocaine -- a penalty he successfully appealed when he said the drug inadvertently entered his system when he kissed a woman at a nightclub.
He is a former top-10 player who is showing signs of returning to that form. Earlier this year, he won in Nice for his first title since 2007.
Davydenko, who broke his wrist earlier this year and is still rounding into form, called the loss inexplicable.
"I don't know if it's the problems with my wrist or the problem with my head," he said.
In other results, No. 13 Jurgen Melzer of Austria held off Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 1-6, 7-5; No. 21 Albert Montanes of Spain defeated Carsten Ball of Australia 6-4, 6-3, 6-1; No. 22 Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Ricardo Mello 6-1, 6-4, 6-4; and Kevin Anderson of South Africa held off No. 26 Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-7 (4), 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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