The 20-time Major winner Roger Federer has withdrawn from Roland Garros ahead of the fourth-round clash with Matteo Berrettini. Thus, the Italian is through into the quarters, while Roger turns his focus to the grass swing in Halle and Wimbledon, feeling good not wanting to risk anything ahead of his favorite events.
On Saturday night, Federer prevailed over Dominik Koepfer 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 in three hours and 35 minutes, advancing into the fourth round but stressing his knee too much after such a long break. The Swiss veteran hadn't played for 13 months due to a knee injury and two surgeries in February and May 2020, stepping on the court only three times in the past 15 months ahead of Paris!
After achieving everything in our sport in the past two decades, the Swiss maestro is still eager to prove his class and compete on a high level a few months before turning 40, showing his endless love for the game and giving his fans something to cheer about.
Roger Federer will not play in the Roland Garros fourth round after a marathon.
Staying on the court for over three and a half hours for the first time since January last year and competing without the crowd behind his back, Roger gave his everything to edge Koepfer in a thriller.
The 27-year-old German threw everything he had at Roger on an empty Court Philippe-Chatrier under the lights, firing 55 winners and 40 unforced errors and pushing the legend to the limits. In the end, Roger won one point more and sealed the deal with a late break in the fourth set to become the oldest player to reach the fourth round at Majors since 1978!
The opening set lasted for over an hour, and Koepfer saved a set point at 4-5 to prolong it. Federer grabbed the tie break 7-5 with a volley winner at the net for an early advantage against a tough opponent. The second set saw some loose serving early on and four breaks in the opening six games, three on each side.
There were no more chances for the returners after that, and Dominik claimed the set 7-3 in the breaker following Roger's backhand mistakes to level the overall score after two hours. Firing from all cylinders, the lower-ranked player produced three commanding holds early in the third set and broke Roger in the opening game to open a 4-2 gap, looking good on the court in those moments.
Determined to fight, Federer pulled the break back at 3-4 when his rival netted a backhand and created a set point at 6-5. Koepfer saved it to reach a tie break that Federer clinched 7-4 after a crafty drop shot that sent him two sets to one in front at midnight.
They traded breaks in games three and four in set number four to stay neck and neck, with Roger serving to stay in the set at 4-5. The Swiss produced a hold at 30 and broke Dominik at 15 a few minutes later for the crucial lead.
Serving for the victory, the 2009 winner held at 15 to seal the deal and celebrate the 365th Major victory in style. Federer will take a week off and return to the court in Halle.