Federer, Roddick roll into round of 16

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/federer_afp.jpg' class='caption'> Roger Federer looked every bit a champion and stayed perfect at the US Open Andy Roddick showed shades of winning form, too, on Sunday.

Updated: September 06, 2008 08:47 IST
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New York:

Roger Federer looked every bit a champion and stayed perfect at the US Open Andy Roddick showed shades of winning form, too, on Sunday.

No longer No. 1, Federer beat Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 and breezed into the round of 16.

To win his first Grand Slam of the season, Federer needs to take his fifth straight title at Flushing Meadows. He has not lost a set in three matches, and raised his right fist after zinging a final, winning forehand down the line.

"I guess it's just nice to play well. Pretty simple," the No. 2 Federer said. "No complaints."

Eighth-seeded Roddick, the last man to win the Open before Federer, beat No. 31 Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (4).

Roddick will play No. 11 Fernando Gonzalez for a spot in the quarterfinals. Gonzalez, at 28 the oldest man left, beat Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1.

Federer's next opponent is No. 23 Igor Andreev of Russia, who topped No. 13 Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. In other men's third-round matches, No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko eliminated fellow Russian Dmitry Tursunov, Luxembourg qualifier Gilles Muller fashioned a 6-7 (3), 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6), 7-5 upset of No. 18 Nicolas Almagro, and Australian Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost to No. 15 Tommy Robredo 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-3.

The women are a round ahead, and No. 2 Jelena Jankovic reached the quarterfinals by coming back to beat No. 21 Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. Jankovic is among five women with a shot at reaching No. 1 in the rankings.

"It's a goal," Jankovic said, "but I want to win a Grand Slam."

Another woman in the chase for No. 1 _ and also without a major championship title _ is Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva, who beat Li Na of China 6-4, 6-1 and now faces No. 15 Patty Schnyder.

Schnyder prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 against Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, who ousted 2004 champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in the previous round.

Jankovic will meet No. 29 Sybille Bammer, who got past No. 12 Marion Bartoli of Italy 7-6 (3), 0-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted 3 hours, 5 minutes _ believed to be the longest women's match, by time, in U.S. Open history.

"I didn't even really sweat," Bammer said. "I could have played longer."

Muller looked as though he could have, too, even though his match against Almagro stretched beyond four hours.

Muller never had come back from a two-set deficit in his career before doing so in the second round against Tommy Haas of Germany. Now he's done it twice in a row _ despite winning a dozen fewer points than Almagro, 187-175, and making 25 more unforced errors. And Muller broke serve only once all match, in the final game.

Muller is the only man from Luxembourg to play in a Grand Slam tournament in the 40-year Open era _ and now the first man or woman from the country to reach the fourth round.

"I'm the first one actually to do everything. I mean, that's not my goal _ to be the best in Luxembourg," he said.

Almagro provided the day's comic relief midway through their match. Thinking his shot had missed, Almagro grabbed a towel near the back wall to wipe his face. He then realized the ball was still in play and tried to recover, but lost the point to Muller.

Jankovic went into her trademark splits early in the third set reaching for a shot against Wozniacki. She lost the point and stayed splayed on the court, and fans wondered whether she'd hurt herself.

But Jankovic bounced up and easily bounded around the court, quickly finishing off her 18-year-old Danish opponent.

"My mom told me that I am losing a little bit of weight," Jankovic said. "I'm actually not losing weight, I'm just getting firmer, you know?"

Stepanek is among nine players to beat Federer this season, sweeping a pair of tiebreakers at Rome in May. But at 29 years old and seeded 28th, the oldest player left in the men's draw was no match for a player who seems to be on a mission.

Federer got broken for the only time in the first set, then broke back at love and held to win. In the third set, he double-faulted twice before winning his final 11 points on serve.

Federer won a gold medal in doubles at the Olympics, but lost in singles.

"It was one of my goals coming into this season, next to trying to win Wimbledon. I missed that one. Oh, well," he said, drawing laughs from crowd.

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