Roger Federer made his return to the circuit with a 6/2, 6/4, 6/3 victory over 34-year-old Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan at the French Open yesterday, just as Medvedev, the second seed, outplayed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6/3, 6/3, 7/5 on Philip-Chatrier Court.
Italy’s Jannick Sinner, seeded 18, outlasted France’s Pierre Hugues-Herbert 6/1, 4/6, 6/7 (4), 7/5, 6/4.
Federer, seeded eighth, breezed through the first set 6/2. Istomin fought back in the second set but the Swiss maestro prevailed 6/4. The burden of memory must have affected Istomin, who had lost seven previous matches to Federer. In this encounter, Federer was technically superior. He registered eight aces and committed no double fault. He made 71 per cent of his first serves and won 80 per cent points played on such serves. He returned serves well, thereby neutralising Istomin’s famed good serving and prevented his opponent from winning 41 percent of points after the first serves. Federer faced no break threat and converted five of 13 break opportunities.
It was a commanding performance, announcing Federer’s fitness and readiness to go the full stretch at Roland Garros. In the first comeback tournament, a fortnight ago, Federer lost in the second round of the Geneva Open to Spain’s Pablo Andujar, who ousted Dominic Thiem on Sunday.
The unflappable shot maker, Jannick Sinner of Italy, seeded 18, continued his rampaging ways. The 19-year-old took the first set 6/1 and lost the second on a single break of serve. Each player held serves to reach a tiebreaker in the third, and the veteran French player prevailed by seven points to four. Sinner was down a break in the fourth set but rallied to win 7/5. He closed out the match with a 6/4 score in the fifth. The Frenchman registered 13 aces but committed 12 double faults.
It was a day of American players facing one another. John Isner, seeded 31, hammered 16 aces to defeat compatriot and fellow slugger Sam Querrey, 7/6(2), 6/3, 6/4, while Steve Johnson outlasted Frances Tiafoe in a grueling 6/7(5), 3/6, 6/4, 6/2, 6/1. Another American, Tommy Paul, prevailed over Australia’s Christopher O’Connell 6/2, 6/4, 4/6, 4/6, 10/8.