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Federer dazzles on return to Grand Slam action

Tuesday, 2021-06-01 07:52:48
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May 31, 2021; Paris, France; Roger Federer in action during his match against Denis Istomin (UZB) on day two at Roland Garros Stadium. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)
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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 (May 31).

Federer will be pushed harder in the second round against Croatian Marin Cilic who despite a ranking of 47 represents a dangerous first-week obstacle.

* Daniil Medvedev's first-ever victory at the French Open on Monday has banished any doubts the second seed may have had about his chances at the claycourt Grand Slam, filling him with confidence for the rest of the tournament. The Russian beat Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik 6-3 6-3 7-5 on Monday, to finally win his first match at Roland Garros on his fifth attempt.

* Italian prospect Jannik Sinner saved a match point as he laboured to a 6-1 4-6 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4 victory against France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round of the French Open on Monday.

* American Serena Williams survived a scare in the first ever night session match at the French Open as she edged out Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 7-6(6) 6-2 in the first round on Monday.

* Japan's Naomi Osaka stunned the tennis world on Monday by withdrawing from the French Open after deciding to boycott post-match media duties, explaining she had been suffering from depression for almost three years.

* Bianca Andreescu became the highest women's seed to fall at the French Open so far as she lost a three-hour marathon match against Timara Zidansek in the first round on Monday. The former US Open champion, seeded sixth, went down 6-7(1) 7-6(2) 9-7 to the Slovenian.

* The French Open women's draw lost another big name when former French Open semi-finalist Kiki Bertens fell at the first hurdle, losing 6-1 3-6 6-4 to another Slovenian Polona Hercog on Monday.

* Marketa Vondrousova, the 2019 runner-up who is seeded 20th this year, managed to avoid an early exit at the ongoing French Open, battling back from a set down to beat Kaia Kanepi 4-6 6-3 6-0 on Monday.

* Birthday girl Iga Swiatek beat friend Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 6-0 7-5 to begin her French Open title defence on Monday. Celebrating her 20th birthday, the Pole did not seem keen to spend too much time on court and came out all guns blazing from the start on a windy day in the opening match at Court Philippe-Chatrier.

* Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku has been named as the best overall MVP of Serie A, the official league award for the player of the season. The Belgium international scored 24 league goals and provided 11 assists to help Inter clinch a first Serie A title in 11 years this season.

* Georginio Wijnaldum is delighted to have been appointed captain of the Netherlands for the European Championship but says the absence of Virgil van Dijk will be felt by the Dutch over the next month. Wijnaldum takes over the skipper’s armband from his Liverpool club mate, whose long term knee injury means he misses out on the tournament, which gets underway next week.

* Switzerland dropped three players on Monday from their preliminary squad as they finalise their 26-man selection for the European Championship. Goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, midfielder Dan Ndoye and striker Andi Zeqiri will all leave the preparatory camp in Bad Ragaz after being included last week when preparations got underway.

* Next month's Copa America soccer tournament will take place in Brazil, the South American Football Confederation said on Monday, after original host Argentina pulled out after a surge of COVID-19 cases. The oldest international tournament in the world will kick off as planned on Jun 13, with the final on Jul 10.

* Kevin de Bruyne’s participation in the European Championship will only become clearer in the next four to five days, said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez two days after his star player suffered a double face fracture. Martinez told a news conference on Monday it was too early to be sure whether the 29-year midfield talisman could play in the tournament, where Belgium kick off their campaign against Russia on Jun 12.

* Barcelona confirmed that Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will join the club on 1 July when his contract with the Premier League champions expires. Barca said the Argentine will sign a two-year deal, with a 100 million euro buy-out clause.

* Eden Hazard hopes to be ready to play for Belgium in their opening game of the European Championship but is still unsure whether he will be fit in time, the forward told a news conference on Monday.

* Croatia have cancelled plans to base themselves at St Andrews in Scotland for the European Championship, instead choosing to remain in Rovinj back home and then fly over for games, the Croatian Football Federation said on Monday.