NEW YORK (AP) -- A bad back prevented Roger Federer from getting ready for the U.S. Open the way he prefers to prepare for a Grand Slam tournament.
Federer blamed a lack of proper practice after making an uncharacteristic 68 unforced errors and being forced to go five sets again before coming back to edge a cramping Mikhail Youzhny 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Thursday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
But he missed last year's tournament while taking off the second half of the season to let his back and surgically repaired left knee fully heal.
While Federer played his first-round match Tuesday under the roof in Ashe, Youzhny's opener was postponed until Wednesday because of rain, and he blamed that for his fatigue.
At 1-all in the deciding set, Youzhny collapsed to the court, grabbing at his right leg after whiffing on an attempted swat at Federer's lob.
- US Open: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal forced to work hardThe Australian
- Nadal beats back Daniel's challenge, makes 3rd roundThe Japan Times
- Roger Federer out of touch as he edges past Mikhail Youzhny while Rafael Nadal ...The Independent
- Nadal and Federer labour into third round at US OpenRTE.ie
- US Open round-up from day fourYahoo Sports
- Changing of the guard? Not so fast, says Federergulfnews.com
- US Open 2017: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal victoriousSkySports
- WRAPUP 1-Tennis-Highlights of US Open fourth dayEurosport.com
- US Open Day 4: Federer, Nadal dig deep to stay on courseWimbledon