Five-time champion Roger Federer advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament as American men moved to the brink of some dubious history.
Federer, 32, of Switzerland, whose No. 7 seeding is his worst at the National Tennis Center in New York since 2002, won in straight sets against Adrian Mannarino of France.
Losses by No. 13 John Isner and unseeded Jack Sock left Tim Smyczek, a wild-card invitee ranked 109th in the world, as the only American man left in the tournament. If Smyczek loses today to Spain’s Marcel Granollers, it would mark the first time in the tournament’s 133-year history that no American man has reached the fourth round at the U.S. Open.
“I don’t care,” Isner said in a news conference after his four-set loss to No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. “No, I’m going to watch football for a while. That’s all I care about.”
There has been an American man in the fourth round of the U.S. Open every year since the tournament began in 1881, according to the U.S. Tennis Association. Breaking that streak would be the latest indignity for the sport in the U.S.
No American man has won any of tennis’ four Grand Slam events -- Wimbledon and the Australian, French and U.S. opens -- since Andy Roddick won in New York in 2003. At Wimbledon this year, no U.S. man reached the third round for the first time in 101 years.
There is no such concern for U.S. women. American wild-card entrant Alison Riske upset seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova yesterday to reach the fourth round. Today, top-seeded Serena Williams and No. 15 Sloane Stephens meet in a fourth-round match for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Williams, 31, the defending champion, and Stephens, 20, are the two best-ranked American women and will be meeting in a rematch of their Australian Open quarterfinal in January that was won by Stephens.
Also today, men’s top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia will play 95th-ranked Joao Sousa of Portugal and defending champion Andy Murray of the U.K. will face Germany’s Florian Mayer.
Winners yesterday included women’s No. 2 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who needed three sets to defeat No. 26 Alize Cornet of France, and men’s No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain, who cruised past Ivan Dodig of Croatia in straight sets.
Federer, playing the last match of the night on the main Arthur Ashe Stadium court, defeated Mannarino 6-3, 6-0, 6-2. Federer has a career 67-8 record at the U.S. Open, which he won each year from 2004 to 2008.
Riske, 23, who was born in Pittsburgh and trains in College Park, Maryland, beat Kvitova 6-3, 6-0. Ranked 81st on the WTA Tour, Riske was invited to play the event after failing to qualify on her own. She won 85 percent of her first serves and had seven unforced errors, compared to 27 for her Czech opponent, the Wimbledon champion in 2011.
“It was really emotional for me,” Riske told reporters. “I feel like I’m playing within myself. I’m not doing anything crazy and it feels really comfortable, so it’s exciting.”
Riske next will play Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who overcame four match points to beat Israeli qualifier Julia Glushko 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
Azarenka, the two-time defending Australian Open winner and 2012 U.S. Open runner-up, dropped a first-set tiebreaker to Cornet before pulling out the match 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-2.
Azarenka made 20 unforced errors in the opening set, compared to 11 in the second and seven in the third.
“The first set Alize played really well and I wasn’t patient enough,” Azarenka said in an on-court interview after her match. “I had a lot of chances and I didn’t convert them.”
Azarenka next meets 13th-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, who was one game from elimination before coming back to defeat American Christina McHale.
McHale, a 21-year-old ranked 114th on the WTA Tour, was leading 6-4, 5-4 with a chance to serve out the match for her first trip to a Grand Slam fourth round. Instead, her serve was broken by Ivanovic, who took the set 7-5 and won the final set 6-4.
Nadal, whose 12 Grand Slam championships include the 2010 U.S. Open title, extended his undefeated record on hard courts this year to 18-0 with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Dodig. Nadal’s fourth-round opponent will be Kohlschreiber.
Also yesterday, men’s No. 4 seed David Ferrer of Spain topped qualifier Mikhail Kukushin of Kazakhstan and No. 10 Milos Raonic of Canada beat 23rd-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain. No. 18 seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia defeated Sock in four sets.
In the women’s draw, 2009 U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark lost to Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi in three sets. Giorgi won 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours, 32 minutes against the sixth-seeded Wozniacki.