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.
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"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.