PARIS    -   Roger Federer returned to the French Open and breezed into the second round with a 6-2 6-4 6-4 win against Italian Lorenzo Sonego on Sunday, four years after hitting his last ball on the Parisian clay.

The third-seeded Swiss, who won his only title at Roland Garros 10 years ago, treated the crowd at the renovated court Philippe Chatrier to some exquisite shot-making, thwarting his opponent’s attempted comeback in the second set.

Sporting cream shorts and a taupe shirt that perfectly matched the red clay, the former world number one, who has been as been absent from the tournament since 2015, played some exquisite tennis as Sonego struggled to cope with the early pressure.

“Don’t be too quick, Roger!,” a spectator shouted after Federer had raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set, even playing serve-volley at times, a rarely-used tactic on clay. That seemed to spur Sonego into action.

A jaw-dropping passing shot and a superb lob almost turned the crowd in his favour, but Federer contained the world number 73 and claimed the decisive break for 5-4 in the third set with a delicate backhand passing shot. He then served it out to set up a second-round meeting with Germany’s Oscar Otte.

“I feel that the public missed me, and I missed them, as well,” Federer told reporters. “There was some buzz, which I could feel on the central court when I was training and when I was playing today. So it was rather cool, rather pleasant, and I really loved the welcome I got on the court. I hope that it continues like this.”

Angelique Kerber won’t complete a career Grand Slam this year. Still hampered by a right ankle injury, the three-time Grand Slam winner lost in the first round of the French Open on Sunday as the clay-court major began with an upset. The fifth-seeded German lost 6-4, 6-2 to an 18-year-old Roland Garros beginner, Russian Anastasia Potapova, on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Among other seeded players in action, 2016 champion and 19th-seeded Garbine Muguruza advanced to the second round with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win over American Taylor Townsend at the tournament’s newest stadium, Court Simonne Mathieu. No. 11-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 6-3, 7-5, 6-1. Venus Williams’ lost her opening for the second year in a row, beaten 6-3, 6-3 by ninth-seeded Elina Svitolina.