In only his fourth match since the end of January 2020, the 20-time Major winner Roger Federer made a great start at Roland Garros, beating Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 33 minutes. Battling in his first Major match in almost 500 days, Roger produced 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. Roger was pleased with how he competed, saying he did everything he planned and feeling good about his movement and how he placed his groundstrokes.
Roger had a massive advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and overpowered Denis in the most extended ones to race over the finish line and set the second-round clash with Marin Cilic. Pushing hard right from the start, Federer barely lost a point behind the initial shot in the opener and secured two breaks for 6-2.
Roger Federer needed an hour and 33 minutes to beat Denis Istomin at Roland Garros.
Istomin was powerless on the return again in set number two, suffering an early break and allowing Roger to win it 6-4 and move closer to the finish line.
Producing four comfortable holds in the third set, Federer grabbed breaks in games five and nine to move over the top and celebrate the 363rd Major victory. "I just felt overall much clearer and much better. 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 just go point for point.
I sometimes have to tell myself, 'Take a little bit of time, walk to the towel, do something different.' That's where I think I felt much more comfortable today because I made an effort to think about it. Overall I'm pleased with my movement.
I can attest to that, as well. I moved pretty well today. I also kept rallies short purposely so I wouldn't get dragged into the lengthy exchanges," Roger Federer said.