Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, both former champions, advanced to the third round at Roland-Garros.
Federer beat Marin Cilic 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 for his ninth win in 10 meetings against the big-serving Croat and fifth in majors.
“I think I played a really good match, I surprised myself a bit. I didn’t think I could play at this level for 2 ½ hours against Marin,” Federer said.
“I still think the level was high, I tried everything and I had some very good moments, notably in the tiebreak. I finished by serving really well. It shows I have something in reserve, I have some energy left and that’s really good for my confidence.”
The eighth-seeded Federer next faces unseeded Dominik Koepfer.
Federer looked sharp, and could even afford to get a little distracted, arguing with chair umpire Emmanuel Joseph after being given a time warning for slow play during the second set on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Federer even asked Cilic for his opinion.
“Marin, am I playing too slow?” he asked.
Cilic suggested he was.
But after winning in the first round on Monday, Federer spoke about the strange feeling of having to handle his own towel, because of coronavirus rules, and how it upset his rhythm. He argued the point to Emmanuel, and to Cilic.
“I understand the rule,” Federer protested to Cilic. “(But) I’m going from one corner to the next trying to get my towel. I’m not doing it on purpose.”
Federer, whose 40th birthday is August 8, hadn’t appeared on the Grand Slam stage since Jan. 30, 2020, when he lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals.
They could meet here, since they are in the same side of the draw along with defending champion Rafael Nadal — who is level all time on 20 major titles with Federer.
Djokovic made brief work of beating clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, saving eight of the nine break points he faced. The 18-time Grand Slam champion next plays unseeded Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis.
Duckworth lost the first set 5-7, before comfortably winning the second, 6-2. But the turning point was a third-set tiebreaker which he lost, before being well beaten in the fourth.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!