Roger Federer began his quest for an eighth title at the Dubai Tennis Championships with a comprehensive victory over Benoit Paire.
The Swiss third seed was playing his first match since winning his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January and completed a 6-1 6-3 success in just 53 minutes at the at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre.
And the 35-year-old showed little sign of ring-rustiness against the feisty Frenchman, who came into the match having lost out to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final of the Marseille Open on Sunday.
Federer was comfortable on serve and equally impressive with the use of his groundstrokes as he notched his 48th win in Dubai to reach the second round in impressive fashion.
Paire, on the other hand, was warned for unsportsmanlike behaviour at one point after hurling his racket and also needed treatment on a foot injury.
“I think I returned very well for a first round. I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go into the offensive quickly,” Federer told a press conference.
“I didn’t have to move that much. It was very quick rallies so we’ll see how that’s going to turn out.
“But obviously it couldn’t be a better first round for me here in Dubai and I’m glad to be back.”
He will face the winner of the match between Mikhail Youzhny and Evgeny Donskoy, with Andy Murray a potential semi-final opponent.
Murray lost out to fellow Briton Dan Evans in the first round of the men’s doubles on Monday.
The Scot and his Serbian partner Nenad Zimonjic were beaten 6-1 7-6 (7-2) by Evans and Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller in an hour and 12 minutes.
Murray will turn his attention to the singles action, where he plays Tunisian world No 47 Malek Jaziri on Tuesday, while Evans takes on Germany’s Dustin Brown.
Also, fourth seed Gael Monfils took 80 minutes to see off Egyptian wildcard Mohamed Safwat, eventually winning 6-4 6-3, while Philipp Kohlschreiber beat eighth-seeded Gilles Muller 6-4 7-6 (7-1) and sixth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Karen Khachanov 6-1 7-6 (7-4).
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