Competing in his 422nd Major match and the first since January last year, Roger Federer took down Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 33 minutes! Struggling with a knee injury, Roger played only two tournaments in the past 16 months, feeling much better and hoping for a deep run in Paris ahead of grass.
Playing sharp and aggressive tennis, the Swiss lost 13 points behind the initial shot and never faced a break point, pushing Istomin to the limits and converting five out of 13 break opportunities to control the scoreboard and race over the finish line.
The veteran fired 48 winners and 20 unforced errors, looking great on the court in only his fourth match of the season and hoping for more of the same in the upcoming rounds. Federer had 15 winners and seven unforced errors in the opening set, dropping four points in his games and delivering two breaks for a strong start.
Roger was ready to rumble right from the start, firing a forehand winner in the opening game for a break at 15 and cementing it with a service winner for 2-0. Istomin held at 30 in the third game to get his name on the scoreboard before Federer produced another comfortable hold for 3-1.
Denis held at love in game five, and Roger repeated that with a perfect drop shot to open a 4-2 gap. Pushing hard, the Swiss landed a forehand winner in game seven to grab a break and move further in front before placing a service winner for 6-2 in 22 minutes.
Carried by this boost, Roger blasted 16 winners and five unforced errors in set number two, giving away only three points in his games and producing an early break to open two sets to love advantage in under an hour!
Roger Federer needed just over an hour and a half to beat Denis Istomin in Paris.
Digging deep, Istomin fended off four break chances in the opening game to avoid an early setback before Federer closed the second game with a perfect slice winner.
The Uzbek sprayed a forehand error in the third game to suffer a break at love and send the Swiss in front, sealing his fate in the second set against such a strong opponent. Flying over the court, Roger placed a forehand winner in the fourth game to confirm the advantage and move further in front, doing everything right so far.
Federer forged a 4-2 lead with an unreturned serve and moved 5-3 in front with a volley winner in game eight. Denis delivered three commanding holds after that break he suffered, but there was nothing for him on the return, as Roger held at love with an ace at 5-4 for two sets to love lead in swift 57 minutes!
Returning at 2-2 in set number three, Federer painted a forehand crosscourt winner to earn a break and make a massive move towards the finish line, backed by a forehand down the line winner in the next one for 4-2. Roger held at 30 in game eight with a forehand crosscourt winner and moved over the top with another break a few minutes later for a place in the second round.