NEW YORK: Former champions Roger Federer and Andy Murray target places in the US Open last 16 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), hoping to avoid the fate that befell Rafael Nadal.
The great Spaniard lost a five-set thriller to Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the early hours of Saturday to suffer his earliest loss in New York in a decade.
Federer, a five-time winner in New York from 2004-2008 and runner-up in 2009, takes a 9-0 career record into his clash with German 29th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.
World number two Federer, 34 and bidding to become the oldest champion since Ken Rosewall in 1970, has strolled through the first week at the US Open.
In two rounds, the Swiss has dropped just nine games.
Murray, the champion in 2012, trails his opponent Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 1-0 but that loss was four years ago on clay in Madrid.
Bellucci has reached the third round for the first time.
“I expect a tough match. I would imagine he’s pretty close to his career-high ranking just now. He’s played well this year,” said Murray of the 30th seeded left-hander.
“He plays predominantly from the back of the court. But he’s an aggressive player. He likes to try and dictate the points from the back.”
Fifth seed Stan Wawrinka, the French Open champion, has a best run in New York of a semi-final place in 2013.
He faces Belgian world number 107 Rubens Bemmelmans, who had never won a match in New York before this year.
Bemmelmans secured a place in his first third round at a major when American opponent Jack Sock retired through heat exhaustion on Thursday.
In the women’s event, second-seeded Romanian Simona Halep faces America’s Shelby Rogers, a qualifier ranked at 154 in the world.
Halep has reached at least the quarterfinals of all the Slams with the exception of the US Open, where her best run was a last-16 spot in 2013.
Petra Kvitova, the fifth-seeded two-time Wimbledon champion, takes on Slovakian 32nd seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who is hoping to make the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Former world number one and two-time US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka meets German 11th seed Angelique Kerber.
Azarenka has a 4-0 career lead over Kerber.
In the men’s draw, the last two remaining Americans are in action.
John Isner, the 13th seed who made the quarter-finals in 2011, faces Jiri Vesely, the world ranked 48 from the Czech Republic.
Vesely has won his first US Open matches this year and also collected his maiden title in January at Auckland.
Donald Young, playing the tournament for the 11th time and who put out 11th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon in the first round, faces Viktor Troicki, the 22nd seeded Serb.