Federer, Medvedev cruise into French Open second round

Playing in his fourth match of the year — and in only his third tournament — former world No.1 Roger Federer wasted no time getting back to winning ways, defeating qualifier Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the French Open second round on Monday.

Eighth seed Federer, who won here in 2009, had undergone two knee surgeries last year and was sidelined for most of the abbreviated 2020 season. But he shook off the rust in style against Istomin to extend his head-to-head dominance over Istomin to 8-0.

World No.2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia recorded his first win at Roland Garros on his fifth attempt as he swept aside Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.

Medvedev, 25, entered with a 1-3 record this year on clay. However, he comfortably overcame world No. 37 Bublik to set up a second-round clash against either American Tommy Paul or Australian Christopher O’Connell.

In other first-round matches, 19th seed Jannik Sinner of Italy got the better of Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-1, 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4.

Sinner looked to be heading for an early exit in Paris, but he recovered his game late in the fourth set to win five straight games en route to a comeback victory over three hours and 33 minutes.

American John Isner, ranked 34th, defeated compatriot Sam Querrey 7-6(2), 6-3, 6-4, while 16th seed Casper Ruud of Norway was stretched to four sets by Benoit Paire of France before winning 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(4).

Federer took control of the rallies with his serve against Istomin, leaving the Uzbek under pressure and with few opportunities to do damage. He won 80 per cent of the points behind his first serve, and 79 per cent of his second serve points.

The Swiss set the tone early on with a break in the first set and never looked back, finding his range as the match went on. The eighth seed found 48 winners, including eight aces, in the match, with 15 of those coming in the 22-minute opening set.

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