The Fed is back

Day one at Roland Garros proved eventful and the second day at this year’s French Open was equally enthralling, headlined by the great Swiss icon Roger Federer, making his first appearance in the Bois de Boulogne site in two years and playing his first best-of-five match in 487 days.

Clearly also maybe the type of opponent allowed me to have many different ways to win the point. I knew if I came to the net, that was an option. Hitting a dropshot was always an option. Taking the ball early was an option. Roger Federer

During his time away from the court he has undergone surgery to his knees and has made a few attempts at comebacks; his record this season prior to Paris being one win against two losses, the last of those being to Pablo Andujar in Geneva.

But there were no signs of rustiness as he took on qualifier Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan on a sunny day on Court Philippe Chatrier in front of a Covid restricted number of fans who welcomed him back warmly.

And it didn’t take him long to establish himself over the qualifier with his easy style of tennis, breaking Istomin early and claiming the opening set in just 22-minutes.

In many ways it was as if he had never been away as he dropped just 13 points on serve and never faced a break point to progress into the second round 6-2 6-4 6-3.

“I just felt overall much clearer, much better,” Federer said of his performance in relation to his recent loss in Geneva.

“Clearly also maybe the type of opponent allowed me to have many different ways to win the point. I knew if I came to the net, that was an option. Hitting a dropshot was always an option. Taking the ball early was an option.”

” I think getting used to tournament and match rhythm again, the whole thing with the towels there, the shot clock there, everything that goes with it. I don’t know, I really felt like I didn’t find the rhythm.

“I felt today I really made a bigger effort of going more in swings and not going through it like in the practice, where you just go point for point for point, let’s play a maximum amount of points. I sometimes have to tell myself ‘Take a little bit of time, walk to the towel, do something different’.”

His next opponent though could well prove not as amenable.

While Federer is looking to improve his grand slam tally at Wimbledon and has basically intimated he is using the French as a warm-up for the grass court season, he will want to gain as much match practice as possible and the level should rise with one of his old adversaries, the Croat and former US Open champion Marin Cilic, who eventually swept past the French wildcard, Arthur Rinderknech 7-6(6) 6-1 6-2

Daniil Medvedev finally wins a match at Roland Garros

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Meanwhile Daniil Medvedev, the Russian seeded two, has finally scored his first win at Roland Garros in what is his fifth appearance.

He secured a 6-3 6-3 7-5 win over the Russian-born Kazakh, Alexander Bublik who had the potential and firepower to prevent Medvedev from his landmark victory.

Bublik led by a break early on only for Medvedev to respond strongly until the third set where again, Bublik got the upper hand with a break only to lose concentration giving the world number two a chance to finally post a win at the French Open.

“My opponent can see I was really feeling good,” Medvedev said. “I managed to play consistent today. I actually played much better on practices than today, so there is room for improvement.

“That was one of not many matches where I was really tight. Hopefully it can be only better for the next rounds. As I say, really happy first of all with the win and then with my level of play also.

“If I lose here in Roland Garros it’s probably going to be because my opponent will play really good. As I said, I feel very confident, I move well, slide well. You could see I think he made maybe only one maybe dropshot winner. So I’m feeling great.”

His next opponent is American Tommy Paul who fought his way past the Aussie wildcard Christopher O’Connell 6-2 6-4 4-6 4-6 10-8.

Jannik Sinner impressed again with his fighting spirit

Tnani Badreddine/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

As far as upsets go, there was only a minor one in the loss of the 13th seed, Belgium’s David Goffin, who crashed out to 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti 6-0 7-5 7-6(3) for the Italian’s first grand slam win as he followed his compatriot, also aged 19, Jannik Sinner into the second round.

Sinner is being hailed as the next great ‘thing’ but he was forced to fight back from two-set to one down by a player better known for his doubles play, Pierre-Hughes Herbert of France, to post his 6-1 4-6 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4 victory.

“It was tough obviously, playing against Pierre,” Sinner said. “Obviously I started well, then second and third set he was serving well. I was struggling a little bit with how to return the serve, if I go to the court or if I stay back. Then at some point I handled the situation quite well, I have to say.

“It’s not easy playing against him. We have met five sets, but the time was not quite long. There was not so much rhythm. I think today was not an easy match for me, but obviously I’m very happy.”

But they weren’t the only youngsters to shine on day two.

Carlos Alcaraz came through the qualifying event and at 18 in the youngest player in the men’s draw. He beat his Spanish fellow qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2 2-6 6-1 7-6(4).

Norway’s Casper Ruud, 22, took out the French bad boy of tennis, Benoit Paire, 5-7 6-2 6-1 7-6(4) but 20-year-old Sebastian Korda was unable to follow up on winning the Parma Tournament last weekend, losing to Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-2 6-2.

The bottom half of the draw has been completed with the top half set to follow Tuesday when both Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal will be in action, the Spaniard late in the afternoon against Australia’s Alexei Popyrin and the Serb topping the Bill in the night session at against American Tennys Sandgren.



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