Dubai - Roger Federer took the opening step in his bid for a
record eighth title at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday with a
comprehensive 6-1, 6-3 defeat of Benoit Paire.
Federer, playing his first match since winning a record 18th
Grand Slam title a month ago in Melbourne over Rafael Nadal, had been unsure of
his form after dealing with a leg injury picked up at the Australian Open
combined with a month off court after his title triumph.
But he need not have worried as he defeated Paire for the
fourth time without a loss with the streaky Frenchman treated on his right
ankle and also jeered for tossing a racquet in the second set as he was
crashing to defeat.
Federer is playing the event for the 13th time, improving to
48-5 in the emirate where he keeps a training base. Federer won his 11th match
since losing to Tomas Berdych in the 2013 semi-finals.
He has yet to lift an eighth title at any event having
achieved seven in Dubai, Wimbledon, Basel, Cincinnati and Halle.
"I'm happy with how I played, I was able to stay
aggressive," Federer said as the event began its 25th edition. "I
couldn't have had a better first round start.
"I still cannot believe my start to the season."
Paire had his ankle strapped trailing 4-1 in the opening set
and then lost serve as Federer took a 5-1 lead. The third seed wrapped it up
after less than 30 minutes with a service winner.
The second set was equally one-way as Federer went through
in well under an hour.
Spanish sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut advanced over
Russian hope Karen Khachanov 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) while 2014 semi-finalist Philipp
Kohlschreiber moved to within two victories of his 400th career win after he
defeated eighth seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4, 7-6 (7/1).
"I didn't know, actually, to achieve my record would be
great," the 33-year-old German said. "It would put me in the
"But I still have a few years to play on the Tour, so
I'm pretty confident that I'm gonna make 400-plus, hopefully."
Spain's Marcel Granollers put out Czech Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-2
while Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated Serb Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3.