Forward-thinking Federer shows off volley skills

By Simon Cambers, Reuters

Posted at Sep 02 2012 11:10 AM | Updated as of Sep 02 2012 07:10 PM

NEW YORK - Roger Federer, the supreme all-court player, turned himself into something of a net-rusher on Saturday as he cruised into the fourth round of the U.S. Open.

The world number one showed off his volleying skills on 27 occasions and won 26 of them as he breezed past Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-4 6-4.

While Federer is equally comfortable at the net as he is at the baseline, he admitted that he was moving forward even more than usual.

"I had no clue my stats were that good coming in," said Wimbledon champion Federer, after setting up a clash with American Mardy Fish or Gilles Simon of France.

"Fernando did have some good chances for good passing shots. Looking back, I don't remember missing too many volleys and overheads.

"Probably half the time I didn't have to volley because it was hard to hit a good pass. It was windy. Usually when I do come in, it's probably on one I can be very offensive on."

Federer admitted that when he is in control in matches he occasionally likes to experiment, testing out a few areas of his game he may need later on in tournaments.

"I really tried to play offensive against Bjorn Phau in my second match (although) I did lose more points than I was hoping to," he said with a laugh.

"I think that gave me the confidence to move forward today."

Federer has not dropped a set so far and having won a record 17 grand slam titles, he said he is under relatively little pressure to win again.

"I remember I felt an awful lot of pressure (before he won his first grand slam title) because I was very talented and people always said, 'He's going to be the next number one, next grand slam champion, but it seems like there's something missing'.

"You're like, 'Yeah, I agree. I agree I could maybe make it, there is something missing, but I haven't figured it out yet'.

"So you do feel that pressure and you panic a little bit. It's not so simple at times.

"Today, obviously everything you have achieved, nobody can take it away from you. By virtue of that, you are much more at peace with everything that goes on in your life." (Editing by Steve Ginsburg)