Roger Federer saved two match points as his comeback to tennis failed to ignite on Tuesday with the Swiss taking a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 loss to Pablo Andujar in the first round of the ATP Geneva Open.
The 39-year-old icon was back on court definitively after his two knee surgeries of 2020 and two test matches last March in Doha.
But his Spanish opponent had upset plans in mind and came through with a win in just under two hours in front of a handful of specially admitted spectators at the posh Geneva lakeside club setting.
ATP No. 8 Federer went up a break in the third set, 2-1, but lost it as the 75th-ranked Andujar levelled at 4-all.
The Spaniard changed the Federer momentum in a glance, taking a 40-15 lead; Federer annulled two winning chances but failed as Andujar got a final opportunity, which he converted.
The loss means Federer will go into the May 30 start of the French Open well short of the match practice had been hoping for after months of knee rehab.
Federer had won his previous 32 matches in Switzerland, with his last loss coming to Juan Martin del Potro in the 2013 Basel final.
Though he was playing the Geneva ATP for the first time, Federer was 11-0 in the city from Davis Cup and Laver Cup competition.
“It’s good to be back on the court, but then you lost a match like this and you’re down,” Federer said. “It never feels great. I was looking forward to playing here, no doubt about it.
“There 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. I’ve got my work cut out there.”
Main photo:- Pablo Andujar beating Roger Federer in Geneva today / by ATPTour.com