French Open: I felt on edge, says Roger Federer after win

Updated: May 27, 2019, 08:35 IST | AFP

Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer says his heart beat crazily before beating Sonego 6-2, 6-4, 6-4; Kerber crashes out

French Open: I felt on edge, says Roger Federer after win
Roger Federer serves to Lorenzo Sonego during the French Open men's singles first round match in Paris yesterday. Pics/AFP

Roger Federer marked his return to Roland Garros after a four-year absence with a straight sets win over Italy's Lorenzo Sonego yesterday, admitting he "felt on edge", as Angelique Kerber's hopes of completing a career Grand Slam suffered a quick kill.

Federer, a 20-time major winner, hadn't played the tournament since 2015 when he reached the quarter-finals. However, yesterday, it was as if Federer had never been away as he swept to a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory in one hour 41 minutes on a packed, rebuilt Court Philippe Chatrier. It was his 60th successive first round win at a Grand Slam.

"I felt on edge at the start, my heart was beating crazily," said Federer, who hailed the new-look stadium which has been 90% rebuilt in readiness for the installation of a retractable roof for 2020.

Angelique Kerber
Angelique Kerber

"I felt great playing on this court. Hopefully I can play here again for my next match." That match will be against German lucky loser Oscar Otte who won just his second match in eight years on the tour by seeing off Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-0. German fifth seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Kerber saw her hopes of a career Grand Slam ended by Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova. Kerber slumped to a 6-4, 6-2 defeat to Potapova, 18, who was making her French Open debut.

Potapova beats idol Kerber
"Kerber is actually one of my idols, and when I was young I was looking for her game," said the 81st-ranked Russian who hit 28 winners past her German opponent. Kerber, 31, had come into Roland Garros carrying a right ankle injury which forced her to pull out of the Italian Open and retire from her second round tie in Madrid.

Greek sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who stunned Federer on his way to the Australian Open semi-finals and beat 11-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal in Madrid, also made the second round. The sixth seed brushed aside Germany's Maximilian Marterer 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).

Spain's Garbine Muguruza had the honour of opening proceedings against America's Taylor Townsend and the 19th seed marked the occasion with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win. Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori eased past France's Quentin Halys 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

Pliskova marches on
Second seed Karolina Pliskova closed play on Chatrier with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Madison Brengle of the United States.

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