Roger Federer enjoyed a comfortable 6-1 6-4 win over Benjamin Becker at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday to begin his quest for a sixth title.
Federer was quoted as saying on ESPN sports that he believes Rafael Nadal is capable of taking his record of most Grand Slam wins, but has revealed he still has the hunger and desire to add to his current tally.
Dmitry Tursunov also reached the second round with a 7-5 6-1 victory over qualifier Lukas Lacko, and he was joined by Roberto Bautista Agut, who sped to a 3-0 lead against qualifier Adrian Ungur and continued his momentum to a 6-1 6-3 victory, earning him a likely second round meeting with top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic.
There was also a win for Andreas Seppi, who beat Florian Mayer 4-6 6-1 7-5 to earn only his second victory of the year, and Philipp Kohlschreiber, who overwhelmed qualifier Thiemo De Bakker 6-3 6-3.
Federer always looked at ease against Becker, breaking for a 2-0 lead when his opponent double-faulted before closing out the opening set in just 22 minutes. A single break at 3-3 settled the second set, although Federer needed to save a break point as he served out the match.
“I’m extremely happy with today’s match. You know, coming out and playing free tennis like that right off the bat is a good feeling,” said Federer. “Once I do get the lead, then you feel like your opponent has to do something extra special. I feel like I am enjoying myself out on the court. I don’t get too carried away or too nervous necessarily every single match. I don’t get stomach cramps like I used to when I was younger”.
Tursunov faced an early threat from Lacko, fighting off three break points at 3-3. Both then had a further break point opportunity before Tursunov eventually gained the upper hand by breaking serve for the set. Another break for 3-1 in the second set then put him firmly on the road to victory.
“I don’t think it was a beautiful match in terms of shot making, especially the first set,” said Tursunov. “It’s hard to complain when you win but, you know, I think
there is quite a few things that I could have done better. But, you know, given the circumstances I would rather play bad and win than play great and lose.”
Mayer took the first set from Seppi, breaking once and fighting off all eight break points he faced. Seppi then broke twice in the second set to take the match to a
decider, and recovered from being 4-1 down in the third.
“It was no surprise that Roger Federer provided us once again with some wonderful entertainment,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of tournament
owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free. “He often makes the game look so easy, but that is the result of the enormous amount of hard work he has put in over so many years.”
Novak Djokovic took to the doubles court with partner Carlos Gomez-Herrera, losing 7-5 1-6 10-5 to Tomasz Bednarek and Lukas Dlouhy, and Juan Martin Del Potro joined Radek Stepanek to defeat the number four seeds, Ivan Dodig and Mikhail Youzhny, 6-3 7-5.
“It was a pleasure to see two such highly ranked singles players enter the doubles event,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.
“They will now return to court on Tuesday, when the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will feature four of the world’s Top 10 players.
“Not only defending champion Novak Djokovic and last month’s Sydney champion Juan Martin Del Potro will be on court, but Australian Open semi-finalist and 2014 Rotterdam winner Tomas Berdych and the in-form Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who on Sunday contested the final in Marseille.”
Roger Federer vs Benjamin Becker Dubai 2014 Highlights
Here’s a video of the match highlights – courtesy MrPieoroTennis