It’s hard to deny Roger Federer as the single most incredible tennis professional ever to pick up a racket. Still, nobody could have predicted that back in 2010, we’d be watching him attempt to collect two Grand Slams on two or more occasions by reaching the 2021 French Open finals – but here we are. The history of the Open Era has never witnessed a single-player claim two or more trophies in each Grand Slam tournament. Still, Roger Federer attempts this incredible achievement as he progresses through the competition at this year’s Roland Garros meeting.
Roger Federer at the 2021 French Open Thus Far
Federer began this year in the ATP Geneva Open with expectations to warm up his legend status; he played the clay-court tournament in the lead-up to the French Open in May slightly overzealous. A first-round loss was perhaps a sign that confidence cannot merely be gifted – it is earned. Having been side-lined from the courts for over a year and having competed in a mere two ATP 250 events prior, the 2009 champion was already expected to fail at the French Open and quickly became an unlikely contender.
Until Federer made doubters and critics alike eat their words with an emphatic display of incredible tennis by making light work of Denis Istomin during the opening round at the Roland Garros. The matchup ignited the great nostalgic memories we hold when thinking of the legend; with an uncomplicated outing, we witnessed Federer ending his matchup in style just like the good ole days.
The previous Grand Slam attempt by Federer was in January of 2020 at the Australian Open. A quarterfinals loss to Novak Djokovic could have been viewed as passing the torch, as the Serbian went on to capture two Australian Open titles since then, completing the second hat-trick in Melbourne.
Roger Federer Meets Marin Cilic – French Open 2021
Federer’s second-round serving came in the form of Marin Cilic, which by many, was tipped to be a close encounter despite the Croatians poor spout of form – strictly based on their conflicting styles.
Entering the match with significant confidence after his first-round success, Federer began the first set with impressive style, breaking early in the first. Cilic had little chance to rebound, only winning two service games before losing the set 2-6. However, Cilic pulled himself together and recovered in the second set. Exceptional service returns combined with some sleek backhanders emulated Federer’s first set success with a 6-2 win for the Croat.
In classic Federer fashion, the second set saw an argument between himself and the chair umpire. But let us be honest, It wouldn’t be a Federer game without some fiery moments. Back to the tennis, in what became the tightest set of the match, Cilic continued to put the pressure on. Service returns from Cilic caused problems for Federer for most of the set until the dreaded double faults caught up with him, and you cannot make these mistakes versus such calibre of opponent. Six double faults for the match, two in the third set handed Federer a 7-6 win.
The fourth set resumed position, where double faults cost Cilic the game with a final score of 6-2, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2.
Federer’s Quarter Finals Path Looks Tidy
Never say never, but German Dominic Koepfer shouldn’t cause Federer many problems this Saturday. The German has been proven doubtful on clay courts with a small winning record of 53%. Then No.9 seed Matteo Berrettini or Soon-woo Kwon will await the Grand Slam legend in the final round of 16.
The best online gambling sites expect the Italian Matteo Berrettini to breeze through the Korean opposition and give Federer the odds-on favourite position in his matchup.
We should expect another close encounter should Federer face Berrettini in the round of 16 clash. And although the Italian will be the toughest matchup for Federer because the clay court is Berrenttini’s speciality, they have previously met on two occasions where Federer has the 2-0 mental advantage.
The Swiss legend has displayed a dominant presence through his first-round whitewash and decisive work of Cilic. Still, potential scheduled meetings with two of the “Big 3” in consecutive matches should be indicative of Federer’s knowingness to preserve some energy. Hopefully, he can avoid dropping sets during his next two matches, which is a big ask – but certainly possible.
When looking back on Federer’s previous fourteen French Open appearances, he’s only failed to reach the quarterfinals one time. The 13-time champion Rafael Nadal can undoubtedly become a thorn in the side of Federer at Roland Garros. Still, can the greatest of all time pull enough to produce another section in the historic rivalry with Djokovic that has fuelled the sport for so long?