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Roger Federer Returns to Play Comeback Match in Doha on Wednesday against Dan Evans

By Ricky Dimon  

Roger Federer will be playing for the first time in more than 13 months when he goes up against Dan Evans in round two of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Wednesday.

A more one-dimensional player like Jeremy Chardy would have been a preferable opening opponent, but Evans battled past the Frenchman 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 on Tuesday. Still, Federer certainly won’t mind a matchup with the Brit. The Swiss is sweeping the head-to-head series 3-0, has taken all nine of their sets, and five of the nine sets have been no more competitive than 6-2. They most recently faced each other at the 2019 U.S. Open, where Federer rolled 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.

Daniel Evans of Britain.

Of course, the 39-year-old will be thrilled with any kind of win on Wednesday. After all, he has not taken the match court since the 2020 Australian Open–where he advanced to the semifinals in dramatic fashion (won two five-setters against John Millman and Tennys Sandgren, the latter from seven match points down) before falling to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. Multiple knee procedures sidelined Federer for the remainder of the 2020 campaign and also for the start of this season.

A tournament in which he has enjoyed plenty of success is the scene for Federer’s long-awaited return. The world No. 6 is 26-3 lifetime in Doha with three titles (2005, 2006, 2011). He has won eight matches in a row there, having captured the 2011 title before reaching the 2012 semis and withdrawing from a scheduled matchup with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

“I am very happy to be back playing a tournament again,” Federer assured. “It has been a long time; I never thought it was going to take this long. I came here to Qatar in 2003 for the very first time and I always enjoyed playing here. It is exciting to be back, seeing all the players again. I am looking forward to the start.”

“I just feel like the story is not over yet. I would like to get that high of playing against the best players, playing at the biggest tournaments, winning them, hopefully, and being in the conversation.”

If this is the final chapter, it should begin with a win–even though it is impossible to gauge where exactly Federer’s form is. He loves playing in Doha, has owned Evans in the past, and practices over the past three weeks seem to have gone well. Federer may not sustain consistency from start to finish, but Evans’ variety–specifically his slice backhand–that often gives opponents trouble has never been a problem for Federer and there is no reason to think it suddenly will be on Wednesday.

Pick: Federer in 3

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Editors Note 🎾 the pick is Federer in 2 sets. RF has recently played a lot of practice sets with Dan. Dan’s a great player and a comeback guy himself. 

But RF has a winning game plan before he even takes the court. We see Roger winning the tourney or in the trophy round known as the Finals.