Returning to Roland Garros after reaching the semi-final in 2019, Roger Federer met Denis Istomin in the opening round this June. It was only the fourth match for the Swiss legend after the last year's Australian Open, and he looked good on the court against Denis Istomin in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 victory in an hour and 33 minutes.
Battling in his first Major match in almost 500 days, Roger offered sharped and aggressive tennis from start to finish, dictating the rallies with 48 winners and 20 unforced errors and doing everything right to leave the Uzbek behind.
Istomin never imposed his strokes and did nothing on the return, facing 13 break chances and getting broken five times to propel Federer over the top and towards his fourth victory of the season. Roger was pleased with how he fought, saying he did everything according to the plan and feeling good about his movement and groundstrokes.
Federer had a massive advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and overpowered Istomin in the most extended ones to race over the finish line and set the second-round clash with Marin Cilic. Federer barely lost a point behind the initial shot in the opener and secured two breaks for commanding 6-2.
Roger Federer needed an hour and 33 minutes to beat Denis Istomin at Roland Garros.
Istomin was still powerless on the return in set number two, suffering an early break and allowing Roger to win it 6-4 and move closer to the finish line.
Federer produced four comfortable holds in the third set and grabbed breaks in games five and nine to move over the top and celebrate the 363rd Major victory, the first since the 2020 Australian Open quarter-final. "I felt much clearer and much better on the court than in the previous encounters.
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 drop shot was always another one, alongside taking the ball early. I felt I made a bigger effort to go more in swings and not go through it like in practice, where you go point for point.
I sometimes have to tell myself, 'Take a little bit of time, walk to the towel, do something different.' Overall, I'm pleased with my movement, and I also kept rallies short purposely so I would not get dragged into the lengthy exchanges," Roger Federer said.