ATP 500Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsRoger Federer

Federer Cruises Past Paire in Dubai Opener

Roger's Federer back in action after his Melbourne triumph and he made serene progress into the Second Round of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Benoit Paire.

It was a bit of the unknown going after Roger said he's only practised at 100% for the last three days, but he made light work of the Frenchman to come through in just 53 minutes. The Swiss was rarely troubled, winning points freely behind his serve, breaking his opponents serve 4 times and saving all 3 break points again hist own delivery to move comfortably into Round Three.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Paire Dubai 2017

Paire won the toss and elected to receive. Roger held to 15 to kick things off. Paire levelled but found himself in trouble in game 4, dropping serve to love for 1-3.

Roger was able to consolidate the break for 4-1 but had to save three break points in the process. The Swiss then secured a double break aided by some loose play from Paire he served out the set 6-1.

During the changeover, Paire received a medical timeout for an ankle injury. You could see he'd tweaked something in the second game and after having it taped he held serve for a 1-0 lead. Roger levelled with a 57-second hold and in game five broke for 3-2.

That was soon 4-2 and at 3-5 Paire dropped serve again in tame fashion to hand Roger the win.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Benoit Paire
Aces 5 2
Double Faults 0 1
First Serve Percent 60% (33/55) 43% (21/49)
1st Serve Points Won 70% (23/33) 71% (15/21)
2nd Serve Points Won 68% (15/22) 29% (8/28)
Break Points Saved 100% (3/3) 33% (2/6)
Service Games Played 8 8
1st Serve Return Points Won 29% (6/21) 30% (10/33)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 71% (20/28) 32% (7/22)
Break Points Converted 67% (4/6) 0% (0/3)
Return Games Played 8 8
Winners 15 13
Unforced Errors 12 15
Total Service Points Won 69% (38/55) 47% (23/49)
Total Return Points Won 53% (26/49) 31% (17/55)
Total Points Won 62% (64/104) 38% (40/104)
SABR 0 0

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Fed Paire Dubai 17

I think I returned very well for a first round. I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go on the offensive quickly, 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 couldn't be a better first round for me here in Dubai.

A routine win here for Roger and probably one of the easiest matches he'll play all year.

Having not played since the Australian Open Final and being relatively short on practice, it was the ideal time for someone to take it to him. But Paire didn't come to play, he tweaked his ankle early and from there on looked disinterested, throwing his racquet around multiple times and switching off for too many points to ever make a fist of it. Disappointing for the neutral but ideal for Federer fans πŸ™‚

As for Roger, you don't learn much from a match like this. He served ok, returned pretty well and was easily the better player so from that side of things it's a peRFect start. Not really tested but he saved the break points nicely and hit some decent volleys when coming forward. The court looks to be playing fast too which is going to be good for Fed but also dangerous depending on who he runs into in the draw.

Predictions vs. Youzhny / Donskoy

Next up is either Mikhail Youzhny or Evgeny Donskoy. Those two meet in an all-Russian affair tomorrow, and I think it's a 50 – 50 match.

Youzhny, as we know, has a nice game and a few years ago could hang with anyone. He's not quite the player he was though, and he's yet to beat Federer in 16 attempts. It's hard to see him managing it here either.

Donskoy is a bit more of an unknown. I remember his match against Murray in Indian Wells where he had the Scot on the ropes but couldn't get the job done. That's probably one of his best matches, and he's a very streaky player. He hits fairly flat, has made the third round at a couple of slams so on a quick surface he'll probably be able to win points quickly, but again it's tough to see him upsetting the apple cart if he plays Roger.

What did you think of his first match back? Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. First comment, first title πŸ™‚ was just good to see Roger back in action instead of “selfying” on the slopes of Switzerland

    1. (Just trying to say something as quick as possible for my first title.)

      But alas – I get the plate with Rafa.

      First I want to say, of course, congratulations to you Ryan; and to your team. I very happy for you. I know you work hard to come back and you play very hard and is amazing win so … all I can say is…congratulations, no? And I will keep try my best.

  1. Just glad it was a routine win for Roger, because you never know what to expect from Paire. I know Paire was injured but could have lived without the theatrics. With players throwing their racquets anywhere near officials and spectators it is just a matter of time before someone is injured. Glad the chair umpire called him on it with warning foe unsportsman behaviour.

    1. Hartt, did you see the incident when Shapovalov ( a Canadian teenager) during Davis Cup meant to hit the ball at the net in disgust, nailed the chair ump with the ball.
      He hit him in the eye and the ump suffered a face fracture. Dangerous stuff.

      Thanks for the write-up, Jonathan. Just saw the hi lights, Fed seems back in the groove.

      What’s with Paire’s shorts….tight enough? Ugly seventies flashback.

    2. Yeah apparently you get a bigger fine for unsportsman like conduct.

      Like Fed said, it’s not really a big deal as players know the consequence.

      Shapovalov was unlucky really, he’s unlikely to ever hit a shot in his career that will get more views or gifs made though πŸ™‚

      1. Yes, and he was distinctly extremely unhappy. Of course. Poor lad. But learnt something the ultimate hard way. – And poor umpire too, who had all the bad luck.

  2. Paire is a but of a jerk. I’ve seen him lose matches on his own fault. He belongs to a certain breed of unquestionably talented players thrown out by themselves. There’s an Australian and an Italian that I can think of right away…
    As for Fedsey, judging from the highlights, he played just enough on 1st or 2nd gear in his economical way of not going for difficult balls when it was not worth the risk, since the other side was clearly thinking about something else not related to tennis…

    1. Yeah Paire lost interest after hurting the ankle. Suppose playing half heartedly and still hitting some decent shots is better than throwing in the towel completely and giving the fans a 5 minute match.

  3. Was just wondering what day Roger was first due to play, then came on here and found this! Oops. I know I’m a bit out of it at the moment, but really! πŸ™‚

  4. Oh, he’s still on cloud nine, waring AO outfit? πŸ˜†

    Thanks for the recap Jonathan. Me, taking time off to watch replay!

    1. Yes, outfit also to my delight, more dynamic!
      And also thanks from me to Jonathan – so nice and fast. Feder’ish!

  5. Still on cloud 9, can’t draw much from this match as Paire mentally checked-out after his injury. Quick match is always good for Roger.

      1. Dunno why you watch that rubbish. Bunch of celebs preaching shite to the public. Although I noticed none of them had refugees as their plus one’s? πŸ˜†

        Getting the winners mixed up was a blessing for it, was as forgettable as ever apart from that.

      2. Oscars…. They are overrated. I can’t get it why this shit gets so much hype. I also can’t get it why so much people watch it.

  6. Could there be a better quart for Roger V Andy besides Cincy?

    If Fed is going to have to face Murray in SD – assuming the draw plays acc to seeding – Dubai is a pretty good prospect right?

    And after AO #18 it’s hard to care too much!! Everything feels like icing right now!

  7. Wow! Fed out.

    Hard to be upset.

    Cause Um…

    I think he just won the Australian Open beating 4 top 10 players and 3 in 5 sets.

    I seem to remember it was Nadal in the final?

    I’m good w Dubai.

    I’m good with 2017 actually.

  8. Fed choked… I have followed Federer since the start of his career, and I have very rarely seen him choke like this.

    1. TBH, Fed should consider to retire at some point. His age is taking its toll. I wouldn’t want to see him retire, but it’s a fact. We can see that the physical side of his game is stopping him from returning to the top.

      1. Ummm… That’s bull?… He’s just won the aussie open winning 3 5 set matches, and beating 3 top 10 player, including NADAL of all people in a 5 set final… So agreed he choked that away, telling him to retire after one loss is BS…

      2. He has just won a grandslam ,chill.

        Physical side of his game is stopping him from returning to the top,if I remember he played 3 five set matches just a month ago , playing top10 players and won them all.
        Just enjoy fed’s Australian open success right now?

  9. This was a pretty gruesome match. Fed could’ve won in the second set TB, but okay, anything can happen with a one point difference, no problem. He’s up a break and serving for it in the third, dumps a game. Then he’s up 5-1 in TB and proceeds to lose? I’d suggest this was a fix if I thought Roger needed the money. Many of his shots looked deliberately stupid or overcooked. Donskoy is a hack and now he’ll always have a victory over Fed, since the two will never play again. I’m happy that he won the AO, but if he can’t bet a tennis poseur in the early rounds because of fatigue, then he shouldn’t bother playing at all.

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