Federer Flawless In French Open Return, Medvedev Wins; Nadal, Djokovic Headline Tues.
by Staff | May 31st, 2021, 6:53 pm
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Roger Federer showed no rust playing his first Grand Slam best-of-5 match if 487 days today in Paris. The 20-time Grand Slam winner looked flawless against the qualifier Denis Istomin in a quick 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 on a sunny day at the French Open.

The Swiss, who was playing his first match in Paris in two years, got an early break to set the tone on the match. He improved to 8-0 against Istomin who never had a chance. Federer dropped just 13 total points on serve and never faced a break point.

“I just felt overall much clearer, much better,” Federer said of his play today vs. 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.”

The 39-year-old will now meet a familiar face in Marin Cilic on Thursday in the second round.

After four unsuccessful attempts, Daniil Medvedev collected his first career win at the French Open cruising past the dangerous Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-3, 7-5. Bublik actually led with a break early then Medvedev just destroyed him until the third when Bublik again got up a break but gagged losing three straight games after having the chance to serve out the set.

“My opponent can see I was really feeling good,” Medvedev said. “I managed to play consistent today. I actually played much better on practices still 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.”

Italian teens had a great. Jannik Sinner overcame a two-set-to-1 and break hole to Pierre-Hugues Herbert before fighting back to win 6-1, 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4. Later, Lorenzo Musetti won her first Grand Slam match overwhelming 6-0, 7-5, 7-6(3).

“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.”

Their fellow youngsters Carlos Alcaraz, who at 18 in the youngest in the draw, and Casper Ruud also won. But recent first-time winner Sebastian Korda, who just won Parma, lost in straights to Pedro Martinez.

Four Americans did go through as big men John Isner and Reilly Opelka advanced along with Taylor Fritz and Steve Johnson who came from two sets down to beat countryman Frances Tiafoe.

Frenchmen continued to struggle. After yesterday’s 1-4 start, today they went 0-6 with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga falling it what could have been his last match at the event to Yoshihito Nishioka in 4 sets.

Tomorrow, the first round concludes with favorites Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic taking the courts back-to-back on Chatrier, with the Serb taking the 9pm night session billing.

Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet will hope to turn around as dismal start for the home country.

** Court Philippe CHATRIER ** Début à 12h00
1 SD 1 Oceane BABEL (FRA) contre Elina SVITOLINA (UKR)[5]
2 SD 1 Ashleigh BARTY (AUS) [1] contre Bernarda PERA (USA)
Pas avant 16h00
3 SM 1 Rafael NADAL (ESP) [3] contre Alexei POPYRIN (AUS)
Pas avant 21h00
4 SM 1 Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) [1] contre Tennys SANDGREN (USA)

** Court Suzanne LENGLEN ** Début à 11h00
1 SD 1 En-Shuo LIANG (TPE) contre Fiona FERRO (FRA)
2 SM 1 Albert RAMOS-VINOLAS (ESP) contre Gael MONFILS (FRA)[14]
3 SM 1 Hugo GASTON (FRA) contre Richard GASQUET (FRA)
4 SD 1 Karolina PLISKOVA (CZE) [9] contre Donna VEKIC (CRO)

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