Roger Federer slips on comeback path

Geneva, May 18

World No. 75 Pablo Andujar upset Roger Federer on the Swiss superstar’s ATP Tour return today at the Geneva Open. Andujar bounced back from 2-4 down in the deciding set to win 6-4 4-6 6-4 over one hour and 52 minutes in front of a small crowd.

Federer, who was playing his first match since March 11, saw his 32-match winning streak on Swiss soil come to an end as Andujar recorded just the fifth top-10 win of his career.

Federer initially struggled for groundstroke depth, but started to move well and threw off the shackles 46 minutes into the match with his first break of serve. He lost just four of his service points in the second set and thereafter posed a threat to Andujar’s serve before a tense finale.

The 35-year-old Andujar placed his serve and capitalised on Federer’s shorter groundstroke depth in the early stages. Although Federer’s movement improved, groundstroke errors cost the Swiss at 4-5 when Andujar wrapped up the 38-minute opener.

It wasn’t until the third game of the second set that Federer created his first break point off a forehand winner. With a 2-1 advantage, Federer grew in confidence and started to impose his all-court game. He finished the set with a flourish, striking a backhand winner to carry the momentum into the decider.

Federer began to play inside the baseline and flicked a crosscourt forehand winner to break for a 2-1 lead in the third set. With the finish line in sight, Federer struggled to land a first serve and Andujar broke back to 4-4 with a forehand winner. Federer saved two match points, but at the third Andujar claimed a memorable win in their first ATP meeting.

Earlier, 18-year-old Swiss prospect Dominic Stephan Stricker beat former US Open champion Marin Cilic 7-6 (5) 6-1 in the first round. — Agencies

Federer gets Serena’s GOAT vote

Parma (Italy): Serena Williams, 23-time Grand Slam winner, says Roger Federer gets her vote in the greatest of all time — GOAT — debate. Rafa Nadal joined Federer at the top of the list of men’s Grand Slam winners with 20 titles last year, while world Novak Djokovic is on 18. “I think two words sum it up: Roger Federer,” Williams said. “He’s just a synopsis of greatness and class and amazing and really changed the game. You see players playing like him, moving like him, doing his techniques. The guy is genius.” Serena said she is a Federer “superfan”. “I just feel like he is really the greatest player,” Williams said. “You can’t not like the guy, that’s how I feel. His game is so fantastic. If I could only play like him!”

Serena stunned

Katerina Siniakova scored the sixth top-10 victory of her career with a 7-6(4) 6-2 upset of top seed Serena Williams at the Emilia-Romagna Open. The Czech world No. 68 needed one hour and 37 minutes to record her first win over a player in that echelon since defeating Naomi Osaka at Roland Garros 2019. Earlier, in remaining first-round matches, second seed Petra Martic and third seed Coco Gauff both got their Parma campaigns off to winning starts. Agencies

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