ATP Roland Garros: Roger Federer edges Dominik Koepfer after an epic battle

Competing in his 422nd Major match, Roger Federer took down the German Dominik Koepfer 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 after three hours and 35 minutes of tremendous battle. Thus, Roger will play in the last 16 in Paris for the 15th time in a career, making a winning return to Majors after almost 500 days and moving one win away from a possible Novak Djokovic clash. The 27-year-old Koepfer threw everything he had at Roger on an empty Court Philippe-Chatrier under the lights, firing 55 winners and 40 unforced errors to stay in touch from start to finish. In the end, Roger won one point more than his rival and sealed the deal with his fifth break of the encounter to advance into the next round. Federer rushed to the net almost 70 times, preserving energy in a marathon and crossing the finish line first to extend his Parisian run. The opening set lasted for over an hour, and Kpefer saved a set point at 4-5 to stay in touch.

Roger Federer needed over three and a half hours to beat Dominik Koepfer in Paris.

Federer claimed the tie break 7-5 with a volley winner at the net for an early advantage against a tough opponent who played well from his serve and backhand. The second set saw some loose serving from both in the first part, with four breaks in the opening six games to remain locked at 3-3. There were no more chances for the returners after that, and Dominik claimed it 7-3 following Roger’s backhand mistakes to level the overall score and start all over after two hours. Firing from all cylinders, the lower-ranked player produced three commanding holds early in the third set and a break in the opening game for a 4-2 advantage, looking good to move in front and closer to the finish line.

Ready to fight, Federer pulled the break back at 3-4 when his rival netted a backhand, gathering momentum and creating a set point at 6-5. Koepfer saved it to reach a tie break that the Swiss claimed 7-4 after a crafty drop shot that sent him two sets to one in front at midnight. They traded breaks in games three and four in set number four, and Roger served to stay in the set at 4-5. He produced a hold at 30 and broke Dominik at 15 for the crucial lead. Serving for the victory, the 2009 champion held at 15 to seal the deal and celebrate the 365th Major victory.