Roger Federer beats Mikhail Youzhny, James McGee falls at first hurdle in Dubai
Last Updated: 23/02/15 8:00pm
Defending champion Roger Federer eased past 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 and the 33-year-old needed just 56 minutes to get through to the second round. It also means he remains undefeated in 16 matches against Youzhny.
His 55th-ranked opponent, who has been a finalist in Dubai twice, stayed level with Federer through the first six games of the match. But 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 semi-finals, 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."
In the final game on Monday, Richard Gasquet regained his composure in the third set to defeat Andreas Seppi 6-4 6-7 6-4.
The Frenchman lashed the ball furiously into the crowd after losing a second set tiebreak, with Seppi saving two match points.
However, Gasquet was able to control his emotions in the deciding set as he booked a second round date with Fernando Verdasco or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
"I had those two match points and then he played better than me," said Gasquet. "He had confidence from beating Federer in Australia. But now I feel ready to compete.”
Earlier in the session, Joao Sousa of Portugal beat James McGee 6-1, 6-2. McGee was the first Irishman to compete at the championship after receiving a wild card entry.
Watch Andy Murray play on Day 2 of the Dubai Tennis Championship live on Sky Sports 3 from 10am on Wednesday.