Roger Federer flies into second round in Dubai

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Roger Federer flies into second round in Dubai

Roger Federer eased into the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with something to spare courtesy of a straight-set triumph over Benjamin Becker on Monday evening.

By Alex Leach (alex@khaleejtimes.com)

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Published: Tue 25 Feb 2014, 1:52 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:53 PM

Federer returns the ball to Benjamin Becker during their men’s singles match in dubai. — Reuters

Federer returns the ball to Benjamin Becker during their men’s singles match in dubai. — Reuters

World number 8 registers straight-set win

Roger Federer eased into the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with something to spare courtesy of a straight-set triumph over Benjamin Becker on Monday evening.

The 32-year-old Swiss broke his German opponent’s service twice from three opportunities to clinch the first set 6-1.

Becker’s strong serve stabilised thereafter in the second, but a double fault at the start of the seventh game provided a chink in his newfound armour that Federer characteristically exploited to the fullest.

The world number eight then consolidated that break to love for 5-3 before Becker took his fifth game point in the next service game. Thus, it was left to the five-time DDFTC champion to serve it out and — although Becker staved off two match points and forced a break point of his own — Federer eventually broke his belated resilience on the third match point.

“I’m extremely happy with today’s match,” the 17-time Grand Slam winner said. “Coming out and playing free tennis like that right off the bat is a good feeling.

“I know Benjamin has probably been doing a lot of travelling back and forth, but you’ve got to take advantage of that.

“I have been here for some time and had a good preparation. I’m happy it has paid off thus far.”

One of the undoubted highlights of this first-round match came with Federer serving at 3-2 down in the second set and 30-15 up.

A long rally ensued that saw Becker throw up a deep lob, only for Federer to produce a lobbed ‘tweener’ in reply that Becker scampered back to return the exquisite hotdog.

However, Federer had regained the initiative in the exchange by then and a deft, neat touch close to the net saw him win the point to rapturous applause. “Two shots before that, I didn’t think I was doing to make the dig I had on the volley and then the second shot was just a reflex,” Federer admitted.

“I thought he was going to go to the forehand, but he went to the backhand. I got it over somehow and then I thought that was maybe actually going to win the point.

“He then got to it quite comfortably and he had to hit the lob because I was so close to the net.

“Because he was coming in already, I thought maybe he was going to be pretty close to the net, so let me try the lob instead of just the hit just like I usually play it. “I’m happy I didn’t miss it wide and it was even better that he got it back, so he created even more to it.

“It’s rare for me to win that point with the lob in that circumstance. I know I can hit it, but it’s always exciting. It’s so rare to get that opportunity to line it up because it’s a safe shot for me to a degree. It was exciting and the fans enjoyed it.”

Meanwhile, the seventh-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber overcame Dutch qualifier Thiemo De Bakker 6-3, 6-3 in the last match of the evening session on Centre Court to secure a second-round tussle against Italy’s Andreas Seppi.


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