The 20-time Major champion Roger Federer plays only his fourth ATP tournament in the previous 15 months at Roland Garros, skipping almost an entire 2020 due to a knee injury and undergoing two surgeries. Roger hadn't played after the last year's Australian Open, returning to action this March in Doha and entering the court three times before the season's second Major in Paris.
Hoping to win some matches and gain form ahead of the grass season in Halle and Wimbledon, it's so far so good for Roger in Paris, beating two rivals to advance into the third round as the oldest player in the Open era at the clay Major.
Alexander Zverev defeated Laslo Djere on Friday to enter the last 16 and praised the Swiss maestro in the press conference. Zverev stated that Roger always finds a way to bring his best tennis and praised the veteran's movement after a long break and two surgeries.
Kicking off his 80th Major event, Roger defeated Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 33 minutes. Delivering sharp and aggressive strokes, the Swiss lost 13 points behind the initial shot and produced five breaks that carried him over the top in one of his quickest Roland Garros victories.
Roger Federer has scored two wins at Roland Garros so far.
Federer fired 48 winners and 20 unforced errors and stayed ahead all the time to race into the second round. His next rival was Marin Cilic, and Roger beat the Croat 6-2, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 in two hours and 35 minutes for a place in the last 32.
Federer earned the tenth victory over Cilic from 11 encounters and the fifth in a row, playing on a high level in sets one and four and prevailing in the third to cross the finish line. The Swiss suffered three breaks from eight chances offered to Marin and converted five break opportunities that sent him through.
Roger hit 47 winners and 27 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and leaving the opponent behind in the shortest range up to four strokes to forge the victory and remain in contention. "Roger Federer always finds a way.
You couldn't expect him to play that well, but it's not a surprise. What surprises me a little bit is how well he's moving after two knee surgeries. That's incredible. Looks like he was never away," Alexander Zverev said.