French Open 2021: Roger Federer, Serena Williams Wins Highlight Monday Results

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 31, 2021

Switzerland's Roger Federer plays a return to Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin during their first round match on day two of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, Monday, May 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Perhaps the most important action from Monday at Roland Garros came off of the court, when star Naomi Osaka announced she would withdraw from the French Open one day after she was fined for a violation of the media policy. 

But the show went on, with plenty of tennis played on both the men's and women's sides as first-round play continued in Paris.

Headlining Monday's matches was Roger Federer's return to Grand Slam action. The Swiss star, who turns 40 in August, had a pair of knee surgeries and hadn't played in a Grand Slam tournament since January 2020. 

On the women's side, No. 7 Serena Williams cruised to a two-set victory over Irina-Camelia Begu. The victory improved her first-round Grand Slam record to 77-1, per tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg

Notable Results

Men's Draw

No. 2 Daniil Medvedev def. Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-3, 7-5

No. 8 Roger Federer def. Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4, 6-3

No. 18 Jannik Sinner def. Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-1, 4-6, 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4

No. 15 Casper Ruud def. Benoit Paire 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (4)

No. 31 John Isner def. Sam Querrey 7-6 (2), 6-3, 6-4

Lorenzo Musetti def. No. 13 David Goffin 6-0, 7-5, 7-6 (3)

No. 28 Nikoloz Basilashvili def. Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2

No. 30 Taylor Fritz def. Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-2, 6-4

No. 32 Reilly Opelka def. Andrej Martin 6-3, 6-2, 6-4

Lloyd Harris def. No. 26 Lorenzo Sonego 7-5, 6-4, 6-4

Women's Draw

No. 8 Iga Swiatek def. Kaja Juvan 6-0, 7-5

No. 4 Sofia Kenin def. Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 4-6, 6-3

Marta Kostyuk def. No. 12 Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4 

Tamara Zidansek def. No. 6 Bianca Andreescu 6 (1)-7, 7-6 (2), 9-7

No. 10 Belinda Bencic def. Nadia Podoroska 6-0, 6-3

No. 14 Elise Mertens def. Storm Sanders 6-4, 6-1

Polona Hercog def. No. 16 Kiki Bertens 6-1, 3-6, 6-4

Sorana Cirstea def. No. 19 Johanna Konta 7-6 (5), 6-2

No. 20 Marketa Vondrousova def. Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 6-0

No. 28 Jessica Pegula def. Lin Zhu 6-4, 4-6, 6-4

No. 7 Serena Williams def. Irina-Camelia Begu 7-6 (6), 6-2

Full results available at RolandGarros.com.


The men's draw was hardly surprising, with all but two ranked players moving on in Monday's action.

Among them was Federer, who easily handled the 204th-ranked player in the world, Denis Istomin, in straight sets. Istomin is the lowest-ranked player Federer has faced on the court since returned to play this season, though he struggled in earlier matches—going so far as to drop a first-round bout against No. 75 Pablo Andujar at the Geneva Open.

ATP Tour @atptour

Rolling back the clock today 🕒<br><br>🎥: @rolandgarros | @rogerfederer pic.twitter.com/HBZCYJiitc

He had little trouble, winning as many as eight points in a row while securing 80 percent of points on his first serve and 79 percent on his second serve. 

"I just felt overall much clearer, much better," he said of Monday's match. "Clearly also maybe the type of opponent allowed me to have many different ways to win the point. I knew if I came to the net, that was an option. Hitting a drop shot was always an option. Taking the ball early was an option."

Federer will take on Marin Cilic in second-round action. 

Medvedev was the top-ranked player on the court Monday, and he delivered with a sweep of Bublik in under two hours. The win at Roland Garros was a long time coming for the Russian, who was defeated in his first-round match in each of his last four outings. 

Daniil Medvedev @DaniilMedwed

History made!! 💪🤔👊🤣 https://t.co/t9T9d1uJbE

The win was just his second clay victory of the season. 

The two-time Grand Slam finalist acknowledged his poor history at the venue in his post-match interview.

"I felt I was not playing well in the past here, but this time I feel comfortable," the Russian said. "I am running well and moving well. I want to keep playing at this level."

He won seven break points and 77 percent of his first serves, giving up just 16 errors to Bublik's 45 en route to the victory, setting up his second-round match with unseeded American Tommy Paul. Paul defeated Australia's Christopher O'Connell in a marathon battle, going 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 10-8 in a three-and-a-half-hour battle.

While the men's draw was predictable, the same couldn't be said for the women's side, where four top-seeded players dropped out during Monday's matches. Among them was Andreescu, who was seeded sixth but couldn't hang on to a one-set lead over unseeded Slovenian Zidansek, who is No. 85 in the world rankings. 

The Canadian star, 20, was previously undefeated in three matches on clay. She made 63 unforced errors, one week after pulling out of last week's tournament in Strasbourg, France, because of abdominal discomfort. 

"I didn’t feel like I played good tennis today," Andreescu told reporters after the match. "But at the same time, she played really, really well. She threw me off a lot with her heavy, spinny shots and her variety.

Zidansek earned her first top-10 win of her career following four losses and will face American Madison Brengle in second-round play.

Roland-Garros @rolandgarros

What. A. Battle. 😮<br><br>Three hours and 20 minutes later, Tamara Zidansek has toppled No.6 seed Bianca Andreescu 6-7(1), 7-6(2), 9-7. #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/GjYrmYB6P5

Andreescu was the only top-10 seed to drop Monday.

Williams, appearing in the first-ever night session at Roland Garros (where she is a three-time champion), fought through a pair of set points to claim the first-set win over Begu, then cruised to a second-set victory to advance to Round 2. 

Tennis Channel @TennisChannel

How about that? 😍@serenawilliams is one step closer to equaling Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. Williams advances to the second round, 7-6(6), 6-2#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/N6baI0Syar

She will take on Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Further down the rankings, rising American star Jessica Pegula, who was seeded 28th, earned a three-set victory over Lin Zhu of China.

Pegula, who made headlines by defeating Osaka in second-round play at the Italian Open, was seeded for the first time in a Grand Slam, appearing at the French Open for the third year in a row. 

She will play Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic in the second round.