Roger Federer marked his return to Grand Slams after 487 days with a straight sets defeat of Uzbekistan qualifier Denis Istomin while Daniil Medvedev finally won a match at the French Open at the fifth attempt on Monday
The 39-year-old Federer, the champion in Paris in 2009 but playing the event for only the second time since 2015, won 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
It was his eighth win in eight meetings with Istomin and gave him a second round clash against either former US Open winner Marin Cilic or French wild card Arthur Rinderknech.
Federer, who skipped the 2020 tournament, was playing just his fourth match of the year and first at a Slam since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semi-finals last year.
“It’s a great pleasure to return. It was important to have some rehabilitation and lots of training,” said Federer, seeded eighth.
Russian second seed Medvedev beat Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 as he looks to take advantage of being in the opposite part of the draw from Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
He will face either Australia’s Christopher O’Connell or Tommy Paul of the United States for a place in the third round.
It is not just in Paris that Medvedev has struggled on clay. The Russian had lost eight of his previous nine matches on the surface dating back to 2019. It was only 25-year-old Medvedev’s 12th win on clay out of 180 career matches.
But the two-time Grand Slam runner-up was too strong for Kazakh Bublik, setting up a second-round tie against either Australian wildcard Christopher O’Connell or US player Tommy Paul.
“It was a good match and I’ve been training really well,” said the 25-year-old Medvedev, who lost the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic in February.
“I’d never won at Roland Garros before so I really wanted to win today. To win in three sets was a brilliant match on my part.
“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.”
Elsewhere Italian teenager Jannik Sinner, the 18th seed, saved a match point against home favourite Pierre-Hugues Herbert to win 6-1, 4-6, 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-4.
John Isner won the battle of the American big-servers with Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, 6-4.
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5)
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) bt David Goffin (BEL x13) 6-0, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3)
Taylor Fritz (USA x30) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
Dominik Koepfer (GER) bt Mathias Bourgue (FRA) 6-3, 6-3, 6-4
Marin Cilic (CRO) bt Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 6-2
Roger Federer (SUI x8) bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
Cameron Norrie (GBR) bt Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 7-5, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Lloyd Harris (RSA) bt Lorenzo Sonego (ITA x26) 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
Jannik Sinner (ITA x18) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-4
Gianluca Mager (ITA) bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x28) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-4, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) bt Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4)
Casper Ruud (NOR x15) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4)
Kamil Majchrzak (POL) bt Arthur Cazaux (FRA) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
Federico Delbonis (ARG) bt Radu Albot (MDA) 6-1, 2-6, 6-0, 6-1
Pedro Martinez (ESP) bt Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) bt Maximilian Marterer (GER) 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3)
John Isner (USA x31) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, 6-4
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) bt Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
Steve Johnson (USA) bt Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-7 (5/7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1
Reilly Opelka (USA x32) bt Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Jaume Munar (ESP) bt Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Tommy Paul (USA) bt Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 10-8
Daniil Medvedev (RUS x2) bt Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-3, 6-3, 7-5
With AFP Inputs