Roger Federer defeated Marin Cilic in four sets on Thursday to advance to the Roland Garros third round. Although the Swiss was tested by Cilic's power and even got embroiled in an argument with the chair umpire midway through the match, he kept his composure to come away with the win.
That said, Federer isn't looking too far ahead at what has historically been his least successful Slam. Speaking to reporters after his second-round match, the 39-year-old acknowledged that it is unlikely for him to reach the semifinals given that his quarter also features Novak Djokovic.
"I still do believe there’s no way I’m going to go really, really super deep here or go past the Novak section," Roger Federer said.
The Swiss has not played much at Roland Garros over the last few years. This is just his second Paris appearance since 2015, and it remains to be seen whether he can rediscover his claycourt chops from his early career.
If he wins his third-round match against Dominik Koepfer, Roger Federer could face ninth-seeded Matteo Berrettini in the Round of 16. The 39-year-old has Novak Djokovic as his projected quarterfinal opponent - provided he can first down the big-hitting Berrettini.
"Now can I keep it up and how will the body react? We’ll see" - Roger Federer on his level at Roland Garros 2021
Roger Federer was surprised by his play against Marin Cilic, especially since he is still working his way back to top form following his injury hiatus. The Swiss admitted that his body hasn't yet become fully accustomed to top level tennis, but claimed that he was growing more confident in his game every day.
"The first round I didn’t surprise myself per se, but now in the second round, I did," Federer said. "Now can I keep it up and how will the body react? We'll see. The mind is getting stronger, I can feel it. I have more clarity, I have more confidence growing in me."
The Swiss then delved deeper into his performance during the second-round match, and asserted that he was sharp for most of it - especially during the third-set tiebreaker. He also pointed out that he hasn't spent too much energy in the first rounds, so he should be fairly fresh for the upcoming matches.
"I had a really good game, I didn't think I could play at this level for 2 hours 30 minutes," Federer said. "The level was high, there were some very good moments especially in the tiebreaker. I have some energy left, I have reserve."
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