Hola! First match since Roger's win in Rotterdam last week and it was a pretty comfortable victory against Frenchman Michael Llodra.
Fed has won the tournament in Dubai 4 times so he clearly feels pretty comfortable out there, true to form he started the match in peRFect style. He won the first 11 points of the match and lost only 7 points in the entire first set as he ran over Llodra 6-0 in a mere 17 minutes.
It was champagne tennis from Fed, the winners were flowing and he hit some seriously sweet passing shots especially off the backhand side. Llodra looked sluggish and out of ideas. He's usually tricky to play against because he's unpredictable and rushes to the net, but it looked like his efforts in Marseilles last week, where he made the final, had tired him out.
It was obvious the second set was going to be closer but I still fancied Fed to win it comfortably, but in the end it turned out to be pretty close. Llodra had 2 break point chances early on but failed to capitalise, but to his credit he began to serve better and didn't look like dropping serve. Roger held equally easily and the 2nd set went to the tie break.
The breaker could have easily gone either way with both players having chances to take it on serve, Roger came through though 8-6 to take the match 6-0 7-6.
It's always great to start off a tournament winning the first set 6-0,” said Federer. “After that, I really had to sort of make sure I controlled Michael as much as I could because I know he's a dangerous player. I think I was solid. I could have served maybe a touch better. But still, I was never really in a whole lot of problems. Tie-breakers, as we saw, can go quickly either way, especially on a quick court like tonight. I hope I back it up day for day now.
Overall I enjoyed this match, Llodra is fun to watch because he's unorthodox and is willing to play some funky shots, couple that with these fast courts and you're bound to see some decent shotmaking.
Next up for Fed is Feliciano Lopez, Roger leads the H2H 9-0 and rarely has trouble against the left hander. Lopez should have won in Madrid last year but choked and then Fed beat him easily in the French Open. I see Roger winning in straight sets 6-4 6-2. Lopez has a fairly good serve, but his ground strokes are weak, the faster courts might aid him a little but I don't see him causing Fed many problems.
Photo credit Aamir Shah