Sport

Roger Federer makes winning return to French Open after three-year absence

Share
You do not see Roger Federer's off-competition work- French Open chief

"The year has been with up-and-downs and right now I lost here the first round, so what should I say?", Kerber told reporters after being swept aside 6-4 6-2 on Court Philippe Chatrier by Russian Anastasia Potapova.

The 37-year-old is playing on clay for the first time in three years and has enjoyed a promising return, making quarter-final appearances at both Madrid and Rome. Federer then skipped the entire clay-court circuit in each of the past two seasons to focus on preparing for grass and hard courts.

Federer certainly appeared delighted to make his return to a tournament he won a decade ago - when he completed a career Grand Slam - but sat out each of the past three years.

Federer has played down his chances of winning the title, although 73rd-ranked Sonego, making his main draw debut at Roland Garros having lost in qualifying past year, should not cause him undue alarm as he reacquaints himself with his surroundings.

Federer, who played his last French Open in 2015, preferring to concentrate his powers on Wimbledon, starts against Lorenzo Sonego, the world number 73 from Italy.

French wild card Nicolas Mahut came back from two sets down in a 2-6, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over the 16th-seeded Italian. "It was a really good performance, I thought, from my side for not having played here for as long as I did". There was the ace at 121 miles per hour to begin his first service game, and the ace at 110 miles per hour to conclude it.

The 2016 champion Muguruza inaugurated the new 5,290-seat Court Simonne Mathieu, which is surrounded by greenhouses displaying tropical plants, with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Taylor Townsend of the United States. Never put a foot wrong, Stan would lose only five points on serve in six games of the third set, moving Roger away from the comfort zone with strong initial shot and taking advantage in baseline rallies with rock-solid groundstrokes.

Third-seeded Federer insists that it would be a shock even to him should he manage to prevent either Rafael Nadal from sweeping to a 12th title or Novak Djokovic becoming just the second man to hold all four Slams at the same time twice.

"It's nice to be an outsider", Federer said. "That's how I feel, anyhow".

"I missed the French crowd so thanks for the warm welcome today", the 20-time Grand Slam champion said. "I was quite tense at the start".

"Congratulations to the French Open for the transformation".

Share