Defending champ Roger Federer tops Mikhail Youzhny in Dubai

Roger Federer in action against Mikhail Youzhny.

Francois Nel/Getty Images


Defending champion Roger Federer had little trouble bypassing Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-1 in the first round at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday.

Federer was playing his first match since his third round exit to Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open last month.

"Best of three in a quick court sometimes you just can run away with the score, so that’s where maybe a bad five to ten minutes can cost you the match," Federer said. "I think it was close in that first set. I think we were both trying to find our range."

The 33-year-old Federer, needed just 56 minutes to get through to the second round, and remains undefeated in 16 matches against Youzhny.

The 55th-ranked Youhzny, who has been a finalist in Dubai twice, stayed level with Federer through the first six games of the match.

Federer took control of the match when he broke serve on a fourth break point in the seventh game of the first set when Youzhny hit a backhand long.

Meanwhile, fifth-seeded Ernests Gulbis extended his winless streak this year to five following his defeat to Denis Istomin 7-5, 6-2 in the first round.

The 14th-ranked Gulbis, who was ranked inside the top 10 last year after reaching the French Open semifinals, led 4-1 in the opening set before falling apart.

"I’m not in good form right now," Gulbis said. "I’m not feeling my shots at all. I have no timing. In practice I have been playing worse than in the match."

Also, Joao Sousa of Portugal posted a 6-1, 6-2 win over wildcard James McGee, only the fourth Irishman to play in an ATP main draw event since 1990.