Day 2. Round 1. Roger Federer

Andy Taylor. Tennis Emcee. 2017 US Open. Round-1. Day-2. Roger Federer defeats Frances Tiafoe

Tennis Emcee. Andy Taylor. The Voice of the US Open

Roger Federer def Frances Tiafoe 46 62 61 16 64

If rain were still an issue in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Tuesday’s prime-time match with Frances Tiafoe and Roger Federer would be among the mandatory rain-delay replays. Not to sound trite, but it was a absolute thriller. Sure, Roger slapped 56 unforced errors to Tiafoe’s 49, but the caliber of winners and dramatic break opportunities kept fans foaming.

19-year-old Tiafoe launched the first salvo, breaking the 19-time Major champion right after the warm-up. Roger missed the Open last year. It was his first sortie under the roof. Fans were sure he’d sort it out, find his rhythm, and dispatch the World #60 with his standard elegance and efficiency. It never came, and Tiafoe didn’t waver. Frances held the rest of the way and found himself up 1-0 against the greatest of all time in his first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The old man strikes back

At 36-years-old, Roger Federer is 17-years older than Frances Tiafoe. Let that sink in. The reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion was not about to let some raw, Next-Gen talent derail his historic season. Sets two and three were vintage Federer; Tiafoe’s belief wavering with each implausible angle, each unexpected volley.

Tiafoe was clutch in the fourth

After three sets, it was step-up or become Roger’s 1,116th career conquest. Frances stepped-up. He broke Federer after the first and second sit-downs to force a decider.

The dramatic decider

In the 5th, Arthur Ashe Stadium erupted as Roger went up a break in game-4. Ten minutes later, down 2-5, Tiafoe saved match point, rifled two clutch winners past the 5-time champion, and broke Roger to keep the match alive. Electric. Drowning in adrenaline, the weight of the match like a Dodge truck on his deltoids, Tiafoe fell behind 15-40, 30-40, and finally capitulated.

Next to the Sharapova / Halep clash, Tuesday night was one of the most-memorable Flushing openers in recent history. Roger will continue his quest for a 6th US Open title, 20th Major win, and 3rd Grand Slam trophy of 2017 against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny on Thursday.