Roger Federer began the pursuit of his 100th tour-level title with an opening-round victory over German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Second seed Federer had to deal with a tricky opponent and strong gusts at the Aviation Club in front of almost 5,500 fans at the Aviation Club, needing all three sets to make it past the opening round.
This is the 14th successive time for the 37-year-old to win over his friend and practice partner, Kohlschreiber, with the champion is looking to achieve a 100th career title.
"Philipp caused me a lot of trouble and we played in swirly conditions". All of a sudden it (the wind) could stop and you could be a break down.
"I haven't played since the Australian Open, so that makes it a little bit more tricky".
He added "I know the game's there".
"It's a match against the conditions really more than the opponent, which is a completely different mind-set than when you go out and, "OK, I need to do this on the slice to get him to pop it up, then I do that". The 20-time Grand Slam champion is seeded second behind Kei Nishikori. Kohlschreiber, on the other hand, had one break point but was not able to convert - the first set a flawless illustration of Federer in third gear, doing just enough to ease past a more-than-competent opponent.
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But Kohlschreiber forced a third set between them for only the third time.
Khachanov went down in straight sets to Nikoloz Basilashvili from Georgia. I used to play Memphis all the time, it was easier for me to play on the USA side. "But I also did not have great beginning of the season". I was able to just manage my nerves during the whole match, especially in the windy conditions. "It was really tough".
MIlos Raonic had a Dubai debut to forget as he was sent packing in the first round by Jan-Lennard Struff.
Federer has dominated Dubai Stadium courts by winning hat-trick of titles between 2003 to 2005 followed by another four crowns in 2007, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
The Canadian served 15 aces but Struff edged him out 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
He progressed also to the second round, where he will meet 2017 runner-up Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday.
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