Federer completes French Open return with breezy first round win

Roger Federer breezed into the second round of the French Open after beating Denis Istomin in straight sets in his first appearance at the Slam since 2019.

The win marked Federer's first match in the Parisian clay since his loss to Rafael Nadal in the 2019 Roland Garros semi-final.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Roger Federer marked his return to the Grand Slam arena in dazzling fashion with a 6-2 6-4 6-3 first-round defeat of qualifier Denis Istomin at the French Open on Monday.

The 39-year-old Swiss had not played a Grand Slam match since the 2020 Australian Open and had managed only one claycourt match in the build-up to Roland Garros.

But any doubts about his condition were erased as he outclassed Istomin with a consummate display.

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Federer went through his usual repertoire of shot-making, including a string of early drop shots, and was playing in cruise control throughout the one-sided contest.

He was applauded warmly by the small Philippe Chatrier crowd who thoroughly enjoyed his 93 minute exhibition.

Swiss Federer, tied with Rafa Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles, missed last year's French Open because of a knee injury and is appearing at Roland Garros for only the second time since 2015.

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