French Open tennis - Roger Federer beats Marin Cilic after strange mid-match tiff over towels in Paris
"Amazing", "incredible" and "very, very impressive" were descriptions of Roger Federer's performance against Marin Cilic from the Eurosport commentary booth as he won through to the third round of the 2021 French Open. Federer won 6-2 2-6 7-6 6-2 to secure his progression at Roland Garros and that was despite the fact Cilic more than gave him a challenge in Paris.
'I was waiting for you!' - Federer and Cilic in heated towel row with umpire
After the long discussion with the official at the net in French, which at times got pretty heated, Federer then questioned Cilic himself about the situation.
"Am I playing too slow?!" he asked Cilic while standing at the net, turning away from the umpire.
"Am I playing too slow?! No, no, I understand the rule...
Cilic replied: "You were not playing too slow but, on a few occasions, I was waiting for you!"
'Shocked and surprised' - Federer reacts to argument over towel with umpire
Federer shot back: "I understand. But I am going from one corner to the next, trying to get my towel. I'm not even doing it on purpose!"
Cilic replied again: "That's fine but, I mean, you're playing like this all the time..."
At that point, Federer turned and walked back to the baseline, clearly not overly happy with the exchange, but proceeded to channel his frustration at the incident into positive play as he went on to win the next two sets.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Federer have all found themselves in the same part of the men's draw in what is an intriguing prospect.
Highlights: Federer beats Cilic in fiery affair at Roland Garros
The draw looks particularly exciting for Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev with the trio not having to face any of the 'Big Three' until the final at least.
Djokovic could take on Nadal in the semi-finals in Paris in what would be a repeat from last year's final in the postponed autumnal edition.
The three most successful players in the history of the men's game have won 17 of the last 20 Grand Slam titles between them.