Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Roger Federer began his quest for a third Grand Slam title this season, defeating former French Open champion
Albert Costa, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of the U.S. Open on Monday.
Playing on an oppressively humid afternoon at the National Tennis Center, Federer came into the Open on a mission. He has never progressed beyond the
round of 16 in four previous appearances at the season's final Grand Slam.
But now he is seeded No. 1, the pre-tournament favorite, and he played an efficient first-round match against Costa, who is more at home on clay than
the hard courts of the Open.
Federer took 2 hours, 4 minutes to beat Costa, who had split four previous matches with the top seed.
"I lost the last two times I played him, once on clay, once on hard," Federer said. "He knows how to beat me."
Not on Monday. Blasting serves as high as 129 mph, Federer delivered 11 aces to one for Costa and won easily.
Earlier, third-seeded Carlos Moya got an early scare from wild-card entry Brian Baker, dropping the first set before recovering to defeat the
19-year-old 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Equipped with the highest Grand Slam ranking of his career, Moya came into the Open off a strong season. He reached the quarterfinals at Cincinnati
and at the Olympics, losing to the eventual champion both times. So Baker, making just his second appearance in this event, seemed to be an easy
But the teen-ager got an early lead in the opening set and then won the tiebreak, even after losing a lead.
After that, however, Moya established control. He ripped 24 aces and 66 winners in the match that stretched 3 hours, 7 minutes.
Cyril Saulnier outlasted Greg Rusedski 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7) in a match that lasted 2 hours, 55 minutes. Alicia Molik, seeded No. 17, ousted
Stephaniue Cohen-Aloro 6-0, 6-2.