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|Swiss third seed Roger Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, defeated Belgian 15th seed David Goffin to reach the US Open quarter-finals. (AFP/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)|
The 38-year-old Swiss third seed, trying to stretch his men's Grand Slam record title total to 21, took only 79 minutes to book a quarter-final berth against the winner of a later match between Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Australia's Alex de Minaur.
"It was great. I thought I had a good feeling out here," Federer said. "David didn't have his best day either, he was struggling."
Federer's victory kept him on a semi-final collision course with top-seeded defending champion Novak Djokovic, who plays the night feature match at Arthur Ashe Stadium against three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, the Swiss 23rd seed.
Serbia's Djokovic, a 16-time Grand Slam champion who has captured four of the past five Slam crowns, is 19-5 against Wawrinka but they have not played since the Swiss defeated Djokovic in the 2016 US Open final.
Also playing later is Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev, who won at Cincinnati in the last major US Open tuneup event. Medvedev was fined US$9,000 for an obscene gesture and unsportsmanlike conduct in a third-round victory, his third fine in three matches at Flushing Meadows.
Federer, who improved to 9-1 in his career rivalry with Goffin, is 7-0 lifetime against 78th-ranked Dimitrov but has never faced 38th-ranked De Minaur.
Five-time US Open champion Federer's Open Era Slam quarter-finals record grew to 56 and he matched Andre Agassi's second-best US Open total of 13 quarter-finals - second only to 17 by Jimmy Connors - in a dominant performance at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Goffin broke in the third game of the match and Federer responded by winning the next five games to seize the opening set in 26 minutes, 11 of the next 13 to grab command of the affair inside of an hour, and 17 of the final 19 in stunningly rapid fashion.
"I was down in the score earlier," Federer said. "Obviously you have to come back. I was too down on myself.
"In a way I feel bad about beating up on a friend like David. I hope he has a better end of the year."
Federer also remarked on Saturday's emotional Ashe moment when top-ranked defending champion Naomi Osaka routed 15-year-old Coco Gauff, then asked her tearful rival to join her in post-match interviews.
"I thought it was very nice to see camaraderie at the highest level in sports," Federer said. "They both have a bright future ahead of them. I'm sure they'll have a great rivalry."
And he had some advice for Gauff.
"These are the defeats she needs. They are what you learn from," he said. "It's all good if you look at the grand scheme of things, She shouldn't get too down on herself."