Federer wins first Slam match since surgery

Roger Federer has made a winning return to Grand Slam tennis after 16 months away.

Federer’s first match at a major tournament since the 2020 Australian Open ended with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 victory over qualifier Denis Istomin on Monday at the French Open.

Federer produced more than twice as many winners as unforced errors — 48 to 20 — and never faced a break point while improving to 8-0 against Istomin over their careers.

Federer, 39, had two operations on his right knee last year.

He won the 2009 French Open for one of his 20 Grand Slam titles. He shares that men’s record with rival Rafael Nadal.

Daniil Medvedev doesn’t have the same history as Federer, but his win Monday may have been just as personally important.

The second-seeded Russian, who lost in the first round on each of his four previous appearances on the Parisian red clay, claimed a maiden win at the Grand Slam event by defeating Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.

Medvedev has often struggled on the slow surface — he is 12-20 on clay — and much prefers hard courts, where his record is 148-59. He has won all of his 10 titles on the fast surface.

During his on-court interview, Medvedev told the crowd he feels the balls used in Paris suit his game really well.

“Since I arrived here I’m feeling really well, I can almost play as if on hard courts,” he said. “Hopefully I can achieve something big.”

A two-time Grand Slam runner-up, Medvedev is bidding to become the third Russian man to win a major after Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin.

Italian rising star Jannik Sinner saved a match point in his opening match before rallying past Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-1, 4-6, 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4.

The 18th-seeded teenager was on the verge of a shocking exit at Roland Garros, a year after making it to the quarterfinals in his debut there. But Herbert could not seize his chance, shanking a shot wide at 4-5, 30-40 in the fourth set.

That proved to be a turning point as Sinner finally held, broke and sealed the set. Herbert’s missed backhand volley then gave Sinner an early break in the decider, and the Italian prevailed with his deep groundstrokes.

A relieved Sinner said, “It’s a crazy sport and I’m happy it went my way.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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