Roger Federer seeks winning start at Roland Garros against Denis Istomin

Returning to Roland Garros after two years, the 20-time Major champion Roger Federer will face Denis Istomin in the opening round, seeking the eighth victory over the Uzbek from as many encounters. It will be only the fourth match from Roger after the last year’s Australian Open, struggling with a knee injury that required two surgeries in February and May last year and a long recovery. After 13 months, Federer returned to the court this March, competing at the ATP 250 event in Doha and prevailing over Daniel Evans before squandering a match point versus Nikoloz Basilashvili. Staying away from the court for two more months, Federer entered the home ATP 250 Geneva Open two weeks ago, playing well against Pablo Andujar in sets two and three before wasting a 4-2 advantage in the decider to find himself on a losing side. After reaching the semi-final at Roland Garros in 2019, Federer will try to embrace another deep run in Paris and gain momentum ahead of Halle and Wimbledon, where he would love to be a title contender.

Practicing in Geneva before heading to Paris, Roger will face Denis Istomin in the first round at Roland Garros, embracing his 422nd match at Majors and hoping for a strong start and the second victory in the past 16 months! Roger and Denis have played seven times so far, and the Swiss is yet to lose against the Uzbek.

Roger Federer plays against Denis Istomin in the Roland Garros first round.

Roger lost seven games against Denis at the Australian Open 2006, bringing the victory home in under an hour and a half and not playing against Istomin until Cincinnati 2010. The Uzbek retired in the opening set in Ohio before Roger beat him two years later at the London Olympics in straight sets. In 2013 and 2014, Federer battled against Istomin at the home ATP 500 event in Basel and had to work hard to emerge at the top, overcoming a set deficit in both matches to remain perfect in their rivalry.

Their seventh clash came at the Australian Open two years ago, with Federer scoring a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win for a place in the second round. Starting the record-breaking 20th Australian Open campaign, world no. 3 secured the 95th victory at Melbourne Park and 340th at Majors, playing well on both serve and return to leave Istomin behind and open the title defense in style. Federer fired 14 aces and never faced a break point, imposing his shots and hitting from the comfort zone that allowed him to take the ball early and dictate the pace in the rallies. On the other hand, the Swiss stole almost 40% of the return points, earning one break in each set to rule the scoreboard and seal the deal in under two hours. Their upcoming Roland Garros duel will be the first on clay, and it should be interesting to see who will emerge at the top. 

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