Roger Federer eases into second round at French Open as defending champion Iga Swiatek enjoys birthday win
Swiss defeats Istomin in straight sets while Pole thrashes best friend Juvan at Roland Garros
Roger Federer eased past Denis Istomin and into the second round of the French Open on Monday.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion is playing in his first major tournament since last year's Australian Open after two knee operations.
Federer, who turns 40 in August, said after his Geneva Open defeat to to Pablo Andujar earlier this month that he had no chance of winning at Roland Garros for what would only the second time in a glittering career.
But the eighth seed made light work of Uzbekistan qualifier Istomin, without hitting anything like top gear, winning 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 33 minutes.
Federer will face a tough challenge next in former US Open winner Marin Cilic who beat wild card Arthur Rinderknech 7-6, 6-1, 6-2.
"It's a great pleasure to return. It was important to have some rehabilitation and lots of training," said Federer, who is competing in the tournament for only the second time since 2015 and the first time since reaching the 2019 semi-finals.
It was a momentous day for Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev who won a match in Paris for the first time at the fifth attempt by defeating Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.
It was only Medvedev's 12th win on clay out of 180 matches and the world No2 will now be looking to make it lucky number 13 against United States' Tommy Paul in the second round.
"It was a good match and I've been training really well," said Medvedev. "I struggled in recent tournaments on clay, the balls are suiting me this week though and I hope I can go a long way. I think I move well on clay but I sometimes struggle with getting the power."
Paul sealed his spot in the next round after winning an epic match against Australia's Christopher O'Connell 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 10-8.
Italian Jannik Sinner teenager struggled to a 6-1, 4-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4 victory against France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
The 19-year-old Sinner, who reached the quarter-finals on his Roland Garros debut last year, was 5-4 down in the fourth set but saved a match point and fought back to seal a second-round tie with countryman Gianluca Mager.
John Isner eased to victory in the battle of the big-hitting Americans after beating Sam Querrey 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 45 minutes. Serbia's Filip Krajinovic is next up for Isner.
In the women's draw, defending champion Iga Swiatek celebrated her 20th birthday by beating best friend Kaja Juvan 6-0, 7-5 to claim an eighth successive win in Paris.
"It's never easy to play against your best friend," Swiatek, who will now face Sweden's Rebecca Peterson, said. "You just try to block this friendship for two hours, just focus on the game. I think I'm doing that pretty well.
"So I was just trying to treat Kaja as any other girl, as any other opponent, because in sports when we are on court you can't have, like, thoughts that are going to make your game more soft."
Sixth seed Bianca Andreescu suffered a shock defeat after losing a three-set marathon to world No 85 Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia.
The Canadian, who withdrew before her quarter-final against Sorana Cirstea last week in Strasbourg due to an abdominal injury, was beaten 6-7, 7-6, 9-7 after a battle that lasted three hours and 20 minutes.
This was only Andreescu's second tournament since the beginning of April because of an ankle problem and testing positive for coronavirus.
Dutch 16th seed Kiki Bertens also saw her tournament end at the first hurdle as she lost 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 to Slovenia's Polona Hercog.
Belgian 14th seed Elisle Bertens had no such problems as she blew away Storm Sanders of Australia 6-4, 6-1. Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova, the 2019 runner-up who is seeded 20th this year, managed to avoid an early exit after battling back from a set down to beat Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.
British No 1 and 19th seed Johanna Konta will drop out of the world's top 30 after losing 7-6, 6-2 to Romanian Sorana Cirstea. It continued a poor season so far for the 30-year-old, who has only won three matches in 2021.
Updated: May 31, 2021 10:02 PM