“ARDUOUS”: Roger Federer Pulls Through Dominik Koepfer in 3hours and 35 Minutes at French Open 2021 3rd Round

Published 06/05/2021, 6:45 PM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 5, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts during his third round match against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

When Roger Federer defeated the Croatian Marin Cilic in the French Open second round this year, there was a huge wave of confidence in the Swiss star regarding the level he maintained throughout the contest.


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Adding to this the fact that both Cilic and Federer don’t like to engage in lengthy baseline rallies will make one believe that the truest challenge for Federer on clay is yet to arrive.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 5, 2021, Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his third round match against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Watch this story: SHOCKING! Bianca Andreescu, Dominic Thiem, Andrey Rublev, and Other first-round exits at French Open 2021


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Roger Federer edged past Dominik Koepfer to win the first

The third-round matchup against Dominik Koepfer presented a real challenge for the Swiss maestro. Playing his first match under the lights in Phillippe Chatrier, Federer took a fair amount of time getting used to the conditions and the bounce.

Also, the Swiss star never faced Koepfer on the ATP tour before. Thirty minutes into the first set, Roger Federer was looking for a part of Koepfer’s game to attack. But the German remained solid in all the departments.

Even though Koepfer’s serve didn’t look great, he compensated it with an incredible defense game and saved 4 break points in the first set. The Swiss Maestro’s break point woes continued in this contest as well.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 31, 2021, Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his first round match against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

While serving to stay in the set at 4-5, the German faced a stiff challenge from Federer. Despite the relentless push from the Swiss star, Koepfer saved a set point after Federer failed to place an overhead shot into the right corner.

As the set progressed, Koepfer looked more and more comfortable as he began to land his shots right on Federer’s baseline. The first set winner was decided on a tie-breaker.

The Swiss Maestro used all his experience to emerge as the winner of that tie-breaker. Koepfer gave it all in the first set but ended up losing it to the 20-time grand slam champion.

Koepfer’s resilience took the second set to yet another tie-breaker against Federer

In the second set, Federer broke Koepfer’s serve but an excellent return game from the German leveled the score at 2-2. After exchanging a couple of more breaks of serve, Koepfer managed to stay on serve and took a lead of 4-3.

Apart from the first few games, Federer’s level dropped significantly in the set. As usual, his serve came to the rescue in troubled times.

Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, the Swiss Maestro was 40-0 up before Koepfer hit a couple of backhand winners and took the game to deuce. Federer survived with the help of his serve yet again.

In the tie-breaker, the former world number one failed to emulate the performance from the first-set tie-breaker as he made too many errors and lost the set to Dominik Koepfer.

It was a forgettable set from the Swiss star as he looked completely out of shape and struggled to keep the ball in play most of the time.

Federer managed to win the third set despite sloppy play for most of the third set

By the start of the third set, Federer looked down and out. He wasn’t moving as well as he could in the first set. With Koepfer rising his level, it became difficult for Roger to hold on to his service games.

The German broke Federer and raced ahead to a 4-2 lead in the set. The match was slipping away from the hands of the Swiss Maestro. With his movement compromised, it appeared as if it takes a miracle for Federer to bounce back in this match.

Just when Koepfer looked all set to win the set, he had a minor lapse in concentration after he was called out by the chair umpire for missing out on the shot clock. What followed was a sloppy service game from the German as Federer took advantage of the situation and raised to a 5-4 lead in the third set.

There was a brief momentum change from Koepfer to Federer in the last few games. Serving to stay in the set at 5-6, Koepfer made two double-faults and a backhand unforced error to give a set point to the Swiss Maestro.

But Federer failed to convert the set point opportunity and took the set to a tie-breaker. It was a tightly contested tie-breaker as the Swiss brought out the best in him at the right moment to clinch the set,7-6(4). Towards the tail end of the second set, Federer’s excelled in his defensive game.

Roger Federer edges past Koepfer in the fourth set and won the match

Coming to the fourth set, it had a similar pattern as the previous one with Federer enjoying an early break in the set and losing it in the immediate service game.

Even though the match wasn’t a great one in terms of quality, it was a competitive contest between the two players. Despite flaws in his game, Federer ensured that his serve didn’t go beyond his reach. Koepfer, on the other hand, was striking the ball really well.

Serving at 5-5 in the set, the German imploded after failing to place a simple over-head in the right place on-court. If there’s one thing Federer managed to do well in the entire match, it’s playing the big games perfectly. He did just that and got the much-needed break to serve for the match.

Roger Federer served for the match and got to a quick lead of 40-0. Owing to an error from the German, Federer won the French Open third-round match 7-6,6-7,7-6,7-5 in 3hours and 35 minutes.


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Speaking at the interview on-court, the Swiss maestro was satisfied with playing a high-quality match for over 3hours. He also said, “Thank you for not falling asleep everybody. I appreciate it.”


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The Swiss star next faces the Italian Matteo Berrettini in pre-quarters on the Parisian clay.


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Sagar Ashtakoula

824 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.