Five-time champion Roger Federer breezed through sweltering conditions at the US Open on Tuesday but the crushing heat and humidity took the number of first-round retirements to a record nine.
Second-seeded Federer had little trouble in seeing off Argentina’s world No.34 Leonardo Mayer 6-1 6-2 6-2 in just 77 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Where others have crumbled in the searing 31C heat, Federer gave no opportunity for the climate to get the better of him, firing down 12 aces and 29 winners as he went onto break serve six times.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion will now face either Marcos Baghdatis or Steve Darcis.
His Davis Cup teammate and reigning French Open champion Stan Wawrinka was another to claim victory before the heat could have any impact on him, shooting down 10 aces and landing 70 per cent of his first serves to win through in straight sets against Spanish world No.58 Albert Ramos-Vinolas without facing a break point.
Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis wasn’t so lucky, succumbing to severe cramps in the fifth set against French 12th seed Richard Gasquet after almost three hours on court.
Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Lleyton Hewitt was the beneficiary of another injury when Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Nedovyesov was forced to retire with a right shoulder injury.
Hewitt led two sets to love at the time.
Earlier, Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis also quit, handing Great Britain’s Aljaz Bedene a 3-6 6-4 3-0 win.
The injured trio added to the six men who had already retired on Monday.
Comparatively, Vitalia Diatchenko and Marina Erakovic remain the only players to retire mid-match in the women’s draw.
In other men’s action, Japan’s Yoshihiro Nishioka and South Korea’s Chung Hyeon became the only two teenagers remaining in the men’s draw.
Nishioka outlasted France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu in five sets to claim his first grand slam victory, while Hyeon put the cleaners through James Duckworth, conceding just six games in his straight sets.
American No.1 John Isner breezed past Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-2 6-3 6-4 on the back of 24 aces and 54 winners.
Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who made the semi-finals in 2012, was also a comfortable winner, seeing off American wildcard Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3 6-2 6-4.
South African 15th seed Kevin Anderson also progressed through to the second round, defeating Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-3.