Across a career of more than two decades, and hundreds and hundreds of tennis matches, Roger Federer never played in one quite like this.
Under the lights at the French Open for the first time in his career. With no fans in attendance to give him an emotional boost — due to the pandemic curfew in Paris. In a match broadcast not on NBC or even the Tennis Channel — but on the Peacock streaming service. With John McEnroe commentating from Malibu.
In the end, the 39-year-old legend survived and advanced to defeat 29-year-old German left-hander Dominik Koepfer, 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-5 in 3 hours, 34 minutes and move into the round of 16.
Despite a heroic effort from the Koepfer, ranked No. 59 in the world, the 20-time Grand Slam champion and No. 7 seed closed the match out on his serve with a forehand winner to polite applause of just a few people who were in the stands for a match that ended at 12:45 a.m. local time.
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