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Federer Makes Emphatic Start In Dubai

Dubai, U.A.E.

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer is chasing a sixth Dubai title.

Fourth seed Roger Federer opened his bid for a sixth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown on Monday with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Benjamin Becker

The Swiss improved to a 38-5 event record as he broke Becker on three occasions and won 76 per cent of his service points. He has a 4-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record over the No. 90-ranked Becker.

"I'm extremely happy with today's match," said Federer. "Coming out and playing free tennis like that right off the bat is a good feeling. I know probably Benjamin has been doing a lot of travelling back and forth, Australia, Europe, America, back to Dubai, back for Indian Wells and Miami, but you've got to take advantage of that. I have been here for some time. I had a good preparation. I'm happy it paid off thus far."

The 32-year-old Federer lifted the Dubai trophy in 2003-05, 2007 and 2012. The Basel native is looking to win his first ATP World Tour title of the season, building on the strong start he made in January by reaching the final of the Brisbane International (l. to Hewitt) and the semi-finals of the Australian Open (l. to Nadal).

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Eighth seed Dmitry Tursunov also made a strong start, dismissing qualifier Lukas Lacko 7-5, 6-1. The Russian saved the four break points he faced and won 72 per cent of his service points for victory in 70 minutes.

“It's hard to complain when you win, but I think there is quite a few things that I could have done better,” said Tursunov. “But, given the circumstances, I would rather play bad and win than play great and lose. It gives me another chance to play better than today. I'm going to be Mr. Positive today.”

Since a semi-final run in Sydney (l. to del Potro), Tursunov has won just one match in three tournaments and is looking to get back on track on his fifth visit to Dubai, where he reached the quarter-finals last year (l. to Berdych).

Andreas Seppi fought from a set down to defeat Florian Mayer 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 in just under two hours. The Italian created 17 break point chances and converted five of them as he notched just his second win of the season.

"I just tried to keep fighting," said Seppi, who was 1-4 down in the third set. "I didn't have so many matches under my belt this year, so I just tried to stay in the match and he gave me some chances to come back. For sure it was an important win for me."

Seppi goes on to face seventh seed Philipp Kohlschreiber after the German defeated qualifier Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-3 in 65 minutes. The 30-year-old Kohlschreiber is closing on the 300th win of his career (298-238 record) and takes a 4-3 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead into the contest with Seppi.

Roberto Bautista Agut set a potential second-round clash with top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic after defeating qualifier Adrian Ungur 6-1, 6-3 in 66 minutes. Djokovic was in doubles action on Monday, partnering Carlos Gomez-Herrera. They were beaten 7-5, 1-6, 10-5 by Tomasz Bednarek and Lukas Dlouhy.

In other doubles action, second seeds Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi defeated Nikolay Davydenko and Victor Hanescu 6-1, 5-7, 10-8, while Juan Martin del Potro and Radek Stepanek ousted fourth seeds Ivan Dodig and Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 7-5.

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