New York: Roger Federer glided to victory on another hot, steamy day at the U.S. Open, the envy of a clutch of men`s players made to work overtime on Tuesday at the season`s final grand slam.
Federer, who has been in sizzling form since reaching the Wimbledon finals, dashed past 34th-ranked Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-1 6-2 6-2 to launch his campaign for a sixth U.S. Open crown and first slam title since the 2012 Wimbledon.
"I got off to a good start and he was a bit shaky. I was very happy," said Federer. "My serve got better and better as the match went on. Conditions are fast, so I was trying to play fast-court tennis and it worked very well today."
The 34-year-old Swiss, looking cool in the 90-plus degree heat after his light, first-round exertions, next faces either Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus or Belgian Steve Darcis.
Others were sorely tested.
Three players in the bottom half of the men`s draw had to go the distance in the severe heat at Flushing Meadows, including French 11th seed Gilles Simon, who looked to have iced victory after taking a 6-2 6-4 3-0 lead over American Donald Young.
But the Frenchman stumbled, and the 26-year-old American, once hailed as the next great U.S. player, saw an opportunity and turned the match upside down for a 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-4 win.
"I really had it on my racquet," said Simon. "I was not able to do anything on the tennis court. I think Donald realized it and then played what he had to play to take me down in five sets. It`s a terrible result for me today."
In another wrenching defeat for France, Paul-Henri Mathieu fell to Japan`s Yoshihito Nishioka in five sets.
The 128th-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka, who saw fourth-seeded compatriot and 2014 finalist Kei Nishikoria drummed out in five sets on Monday, booked himself into the second round with a 6-4 2-6 6-7(7) 6-1 6-2 victory.
Dutchman Robin Haase also made a Houdini-like escape against Germany`s Dustin Brown to register a 4-6 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-4 victory.
Heat may have been a factor in claiming other hard-luck victims at the U.S. National Tennis Centre as four players retired from their matches.
Australian Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 U.S. Open winner, advanced 6-0 7-6(2) 1-0 when Aleksandr Nedovyseov of Kazakhstan retired.
Misfortune favoured the French and went the other way for the Aussies when 12th seed Richard Gasquet advanced 4-6 6-1 4-6 6-3 2-0 when Thanasi Kokkinakis retired.
Women`s second seed Simona Halep also had an abbreviated match as she advanced 6-2 3-0 after New Zealand`s Marina Erakovic retired with a knee injury.
The in-form Halep, who reached the finals at U.S. Open tune-up events in Toronto and Cincinnati, barely broke a sweat on Arthur Ashe Stadium court, needing a mere 47 minutes to see off the 99th-ranked New Zealander.
Also sprinting to victory was fourth seed Carolina Wozniacki, who dismissed U.S. national college champion Jamie Loeb 6-2 6-0.
The women`s draw continued to produce upsets for a second consecutive day as Czech sixth seed and French Open finalist Lucie Safarova fell 6-4 6-1 to Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.
Fourteenth seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland was also shown the door, ushered out by 42nd-ranked Czech Barbora Strycova 7-5 6-0.
They joined Monday`s first-round casualties that included Serbian seventh seed Ana Ivanovic, eighth seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova and 10th-seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.
"I wasn`t surprised (by the upsets), it is normal," said 23-year-old Halep. "Everyone is fighting like crazy because it`s the last grand slam (of the year)."