ATP 500Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsRoger Federer

Federer starts in Dubai with victory

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


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 accuracy not good. his first serve percentage needs to better otherwise he loses important matches like to nadal or djokovic.

  2. Federer hit 70% on first serves.92% won on first serves and 63% on second serves. Djokovic hit 69% on first serves. 80% on first serves won and 45% on second serves against a lower- level player. Federer faced Lopez, who is a lot tougher on hard court then Stakhovsky. Don’t worry about Feds accuracy.

    1. Yeah Fed served great today, I think Conal was referring to the Llodra match where he was down at like 40% first serves – against good returners that would make life difficult for him. Glad he upped it today and hit a ton of aces.

      1. I knew what Conal was saying, I was just trying to show that Federer is human and has his ups and downs. I think,we, as federer fans tend to get spoiled and are over-critical of every aspect of his game. Federer bageled Llodra in his first game of Dubai, that right there is showing me how serious he is. Djokovic was making quite a few errors and did little to impress me. I strongly believe Federer has a good chance of winning this tournament.

      2. I also noticed that Federer always hits lots of Aces against Lopez, like in Madrid of 2011. I think he hit 25 Aces in that one.

      3. Ok cool. A win is a win really so I’m not going to complain. But if he serves at 40% against someone like Djokovic – it makes holding serve an uphill task.

        I’ve not seen any of Novaks matches but the scorelines suggest he’s not in great form, still winning though so likely candidate for the finals.

        He definitely has a good chance – fast courts, 4 time champion and on a decent run since the Davis Cup. Looking forward to Youzhny game, should be fun.

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