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Andujar Can Tell Grandkids he beat Roger Federer, as Swiss Falls at Geneva Open

Roger Federer led 4-2 in the final set before Pablo Andujar won four games in a row to close a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win at the Geneva Open. EPA-EFE/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

By Ricky Dimon

Roger Federer’s latest comeback to tennis began with a loss at Geneva Open on Tuesday afternoon. Federer, who was playing his first match since March 11 and his third of the season, fell to Pablo Andujar 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 after one hour and 52 minutes.

The 39-year-old Swiss was also playing on clay for the first time since the 2019 French Open semifinals (lost to Rafael Nadal). So even though he had won 32 matches in a row on home soil in Switzerland, Geneva was always going to be a much tougher proposition for him than the Swiss Indoors Basel.

It was tough right from the start against Andujar, who dropped only five service points in his first five service games. That propelled the Spaniard to a 5-4 lead in the opening set before he clinched it with a service break at the perfect time. Roles were reversed in the second, when Federer lost just four points in five service breaks and used one break to level the match.

Although Andujar was admittedly thrilled simply to be on the same court as Federer, the 35-year-old was not about to settle for second best.

“[I am] really, really excited,” Andujar had said prior to his first-ever meeting with the all-time great. “It was something that I wanted, to have a match against Roger, just to tell my kids and my grandkids when I get older that I played him. This is something that for a long time I was looking for. I played Rafa, I played Novak, and I had to close that gap. I knew I was not going to have as many opportunities because years go on. I’m really excited and really happy to play Roger–and in Switzerland, as well.

“I think when you play Rafa, Novak, and Roger, these guys became myths. [They are] something above the sport. Of course the elegance that Roger has is something amazing and that [is] in all the tennis schools; we see him with the technique and everything. But I would say that the most important (thing) is that they grew the sport and now they are above the sport. They are like something else.”

World No. 75 Pablo Andujar of Spain reacts after winning his second-round match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the ATP 250 Geneva Open tennis tournament in Geneva, Switzerland. EPA-EFE/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

In the Geneva second round, though, Federer did not finish above Andujar. The world No. 75 found himself trailing 4-2 in the decider but hit back for service breaks at 3-4 and 5-4 to close out the contest on a four-game run.

“Of course at 4-2 in the third you feel like, ‘Oh, that’s nice that I was able to turn around the match,'” Federer reflected. “You start feeling better and that’s when it dips and everything is over 10 minutes later. But we know how tennis goes and that’s where it’s so brutal sometimes. But I feel like I didn’t deserve it at the end. There was just not enough happening in my game.

“It’s good to be back on the court, but then you lost a match like this and you’re down. It never feels great. I was looking forward to playing here, no doubt about it…. Of course there were moments where I was really happy to entertain the crowd, and [I was] looking at the long road that I’ve been on from the comeback.

“Sure, it’s rewarding to be back on a tennis court. But I expect better from myself. I feel like in practice I’ve been playing better, even in practice here. But then again as we know, matches are a different animal.”

Federer is now 1-2 on the year, with a victory over Dan Evans in Doha followed by a setback from match point up against eventual champion Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The former world No. 1 will now have more than a week off before taking his talents to the French Open.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.