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Roger Federer slogs past Koepfer

Roger Federer slogs past Koepfer

The 39-year-old 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was ragged at times and lacked his usual zip against the tenacious Koepfer but the eighth seed slogged his way to a 7-6(5) 6-7(3) 7-6(4) 7-5 victory with the time approaching 1am local time.

Roger Federer reached the last 16 of the French Open but needed all of his fighting qualities to scrap his way past Germany’s Dominik Koepfer on an empty and eerie Court Philippe Chatrier in Saturday’s night match.

It was Federer’s first taste of a Grand Slam match played without fans, courtesy of Paris’s 9pm COVID-19 curfew, and it was not an experience he seemed to enjoy as he was given a torrid time by the 27-year-old left-hander. Federer was rattled by the heavy hitting of the world number 59 but dug deep to win the night’s opening tiebreak, helped by a Koepfer double fault at a crucial moment.

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