French Open: Federer wins late-night thriller, advances to last 16
Swiss maestro Roger Federer overcame Germany's Dominik Koepfer to seal a spot in the fourth round of the 2021 French Open. The former beat Koepfer 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-5 in an intense battle that lasted three hours and 39 minutes. Federer was also tested by Marin Cilic in the previous round after earning a one-sided victory over Denis Istomin. Here is more.
How did the match pan out?
Both Federer and Koepfer gave nothing away in the first set, which was decided by tie-break after an hour and four minutes. Federer broke twice in the following set, but Koepfer ended up winning the tie-break this time. The third set was also decided in a similar manner, with Federer prevailing. He finally wrapped up the fourth set by breaking in the penultimate game.
Koepfer hit a total of 51 winners in the match
Despite losing, Koepfer hit a total of 51 winners and 11 aces in the match. He also committed less unforced errors (40) than Federer (63). Meanwhile, Federer won 72 percent of the net points (48/67), and claimed 160 points in the match.
Most last 16 appearances at Grand Slams
Federer has advanced to the last 16 at a Grand Slam for the 68th time, most among all players. He is followed by Novak Djokovic (54), Rafael Nadal (50), and Jimmy Connors (43) on this list. Federer will next face ninth seed Matteo Berrettini. The Italian trounced Soonwoo Kwon 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4 to make the last 16 in Paris for the first time.
Federer kept this streak intact
Federer hasn't lost a French Open match to a player ranked as low as 59th (Koepfer) since 2003 (lost to number 88 Luis Horna in the first round). "For me to go out tonight, sure, it wasn't easy. It was a lot of premiers for me: Playing against Koep for first night session here in Paris," Federer said after the match.
Federer fared better in deciding moments: Koepfer
Koepfer, who played his first match against Federer duly tested him throughout. However, the latter fared better in crunch moments to prevail. Acknowledging the same, Koepfer said, "Roger is Roger. Unbelievable what he does at the age of 39." "He plays very good tennis and is incredibly fit. He played better in the deciding moments," he added.