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Awesome Federer demolishes Sela

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer gave a lesson in serving on Arthur Ashe Stadium © PA Photos
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Roger Federer produced a serving masterclass as he demolished Dudi Sela to reach the third round of the US Open.

The naysayers have been writing the obituary of Federer as a top-class force in the game, but he has performed better than his results have suggested this season and he looked somewhere close to his best in his 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over Sela - which came in a shade over an hour and 15 minutes.

Sela is a useful performer, having been as high as 29 in the world at one stage, but he simply had no answers to the brilliance of Federer.

Federer made a rapier-like start, winning the opening point with a drive volley and holding to love. He held to love in his following service game and the pressure he imparted on the Sela serve told in the sixth game, as he worked the break when the Israeli sent a backhand into the net.

The set was over from that point as Federer's serving was a joy to watch. He hit 70% of first serves, but even having a look at a second did nothing for Sela as the No. 3 seed won 100% of points on his second serve in the first set - dropping just three service points in the opening stanza - and he sealed the set with a sublime serve and volley.

The second set was a carbon copy of the first, with Federer dominating behind his own serve - he dropped just two points - and he crafted two breaks of serve to take a stranglehold on the match.

Sela battled back from two sets down in the first round to win, but Federer is a far more formidable opponent than Thomaz Bellucci and the writing was etched in permanent marker on the wall the moment Sela pulled a forehand wide of the sideline in the third game of the third set to hand Federer a break.

Federer powered through the remainder of the match without moving out of cruise control and he remains firmly in the mix to win a sixth Flushing Meadows title.

Radek Stepanek receives treatment on an injury © PA Photos
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Tomas Berdych is striving to find form after an indifferent 2011 and he looked somewhere near his best with a blistering display in beating Fabio Fognini. The Czech had to dig in to claim a tight opening set, but found his stride in the final two sets - clinching a 7-5 6-0 6-0 win with a crunching forehand down the line.

Berdych will face 20th seed Janko Tipsarevic in round three after the Serb ground out a 6-0 6-3 3-6 6-3 win over Philipp Petzschner.

Juan Carlos Ferrero and Gael Monfils served up the match of the tournament so far, with the Spaniard digging in to claim a 7-6(1) 5-7 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 win.

Ferrero is unlikely to ever scale the heights that took him to the top of the game in 2003, but he dug deep into his memory banks to claim a stunning win.

Monfils is one of the most talented players on tour and he served it up to Ferrero throughout, but the Spaniard kept punching away and sealed victory in 12 minutes short of five hours. The Louis Armstrong Stadium was packed to the rafters to see Ferrero close out the match with a love service game, and witnessed Monfils give his rival a standing ovation at the net.

Ferrero's compatriot, Fernando Verdasco had a much easier time of it against Turkey's Marsel Ilhan, with the 19th seed recording a 6-4 6-3 6-1. Home favourite Mardy Fish, meanwhile, cruised past Malek Jaziri 6-2 6-2 6-4.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga powered his way into round three with a 6-3 7-5 6-2 win over Sergei Bubka, while Australian youngster Bernard Tomic was given a lesson in grand slam tennis by No. 27 see Marin Cilic who cruised to a 6-1 6-0 6-2 win and will now meet Federer in round three.

No. 13 seed Richard Gasquet was ousted by Ivo Karlovic. The big-serving Croatian fired down 29 aces to take the match 6-4 6-2 2-6 7-6(4).

South Africa's Kevin Anderson, the man who beat Andy Murray a few weeks ago in Montreal, demonstrated his liking for hard courts with a blistering 6-1 6-2 6-2 win over No. 29 seed Michael Llodra.

The withdrawals continued apace on Thursday, with Radek Stepanek the latest player failing to compete. The 23rd seed was two sets and a break down to Juan Monaco when he offered his hand. The Czech is the seventh player to withdraw. The record at a grand slam is 10.

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