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Federer flies past Istomin in French Open comeback match

After missing the 2020 French Open and also most of this season, Roger Federer returns at Roland-Garros and defeats Denis Istomin in the first round on Monday.

Federer Roland Garros 2021 Panoramic Federer Roland Garros 2021 Panoramic

With little match practice under his belt and coming off an opening loss in Geneva earlier this month, Roger Federer went into the 2021 French Open as a major question mark.

Whether or not he can make a seriously deep run remains in doubt, but Federer at least put some concerns to rest when he dominated his opening match on Monday afternoon. The 39-year-old destroyed Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in just one hour and 33 minutes.


“I just felt overall much clearer, much better (than in Geneva),” Federer said. “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.

“What else?…. I think the biggest difference for me was in Geneva, now looking back, is that I feel like you play a lot of points very quickly. I think that’s what got me at the end. I rarely took the extra two, three, four, five seconds I usually take by getting the towel or waiting for the crowd, whatever the dynamics might be.

“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 most important thing that Federer did different, of course, was win.

He will try to do the same against Marin Cilic on Thursday. Cilic dismissed Arthur Rinderknech was 7-6(6), 6-1, 6-2.

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