The Swiss was stunned by Kevin Anderson at the All England Club just over a month ago, leading by two sets before the South African secured a remarkable comeback on Court 1.
Federer returned to action for the first time on Tuesday evening, comfortably beating Peter Gojowczyk 6-4 6-4 in his first appearance in Cincinnati – where he’s a seven-time champion – since 2015.
He withdrew from the Rogers Cup last week in order to keep his body fresh for the final Grand Slam of the year, but now believes he has a new-found fresh state of mind having beaten the German.
And he’s made no secret of his ‘big goal’: to win the US Open.
‘I felt good in that first match, to be honest, walking out, hardly any nerves,’ he said. ‘I think I knew what I had to do.
‘It’s fast-court tennis. I knew my opponent was going to go for it and take big cuts at the ball. So there is only so much you can really do.
‘It’s nice to have played a match so that my last match was not the Anderson match… you’ve kind of turned the page. It’s a good thing.
‘The goal is now to recover from this match, take the positives with me. Of course, the big goal is the US Open.’
The 37-year-old will face Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in the third round, after his 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 win over Lucas Pouille.
Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios saved match point with a second serve ace in a 6-7 (2-7) 7-5 7-6 (11-9) win over Denis Kudla, while Denis Shapovalov beat British No. 1 Kyle Edmund 6-4 7-5.
Dominic Thiem was forced to withdraw from the tournament with a virus – a move which will allow Novak Djokovic to be a top-eight seed at the US Open unless results go dramatically against him this week.