Federer flies past Paire into Dubai second round

Roger Federer began his bid for an eighth title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in style, improving to 48-5 lifetime at the event with a 6-1, 6-3 blowout of Benoit Paire on Monday. Federer needed only 54 minutes to storm into the second round of his first tournament since triumphing at the Australian Open.

The ninth-ranked Swiss struck five aces without double-faulting and he saved all three of the break points he faced.

“I think I returned very well for a first round,” assessed Federer, who capitalized on four of six break-point chances. “I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go into the offensive quickly. (I) didn’t have to move that much; [there were] very quick rallies. So we’ll see how that’s going to turn out. But obviously (it) couldn’t be a better first round for me here in Dubai.

“Fans and myself know how special it is for me to be back on the court. It was a nice welcome; very thankful always. I have played here for so many years–seen the tournament grow.”

The 35-year-old is joined in the last 16 by Gael Monfils, Roberto Bautista Agut, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, and Marcel Granollers.

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