Switzerland’s 150th-ranked qualifier Henri Laaksonen laid the Roland Garros groundwork for celebrated compatriot Roger Federer on Sunday, scoring a 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 first-round win over Yannik Hanfmann.
Laaksonen is playing the Paris main draw for the third straight edition, winning his first match in 2019.
The Finland-born Swiss piled on 10 aces in his two-and-a-quarter-hour win, breaking 93rd-ranked German Hanfmann six times.
“For sure it’s a great feeling,” the winner said. “I had tough matches in the quallies already, and I started really well today.
“The first one and a half sets were great tennis, I think I played really well through the whole match.. I’m very happy.”
Laaksonen will face off in the second round on the clay against Roberto Bautista Agut after the 11th seed won an all-Spanish match against qualifier Mario Vilella Martinez 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Federer will make his return to the event after missing four of the last five editions when the eighth seed begins on Monday against Denis Istomin.
“I’ve won four matches here now, and it’s really great,” Laaksonen said. “I didn’t come here with big expectations, I just wanted to improve my game.
“I’ve not played so well the last couple of weeks, so we’ve been working a lot now with my coach. I’m really happy with the results that have come so quickly.”