Making his first appearance since winning the Australian Open, Roger Federer cruised through his opening match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a comfortable 6-1 6-3 victory over Benoit Paire.
Fans and myself know how special it is for me to be back on the court. It was a nice welcome.
Chasing his eighth Dubai title, Federer was hardly tested saving three break points to successfully hold his serve throughout the match.
"I think I returned very well for a first round," Federer said. "I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go into the offensive quickly. Didn’t have to move that much. It was very quick rallies. So we’ll see how that’s going to turn out. But obviously couldn’t be a better first round for me here in Dubai."
Federer’s next opponent will be one of two Russians — Mikhail Youzhny or qualifier Evgeny Donskoy.
"I have played here for so many years, seen the tournament grow," Federer added. "Fans and myself know how special it is for me to be back on the court. It was a nice welcome. Very thankful always."
Currently ranked 10, Federer could face the top-seeded Andy Murray in the semis.
The world No1, Murray will get his own challenge under way on Tuesday against Malek Jaziri, a player world ranked 47 who has never played the Briton before.
Also playing Tuesday is Stan Wawrinka, the second seed, who takes on Damir Dzumhur. Other opening day results include Gael Monfils (4) beating the wild-card Mohamed Safwat of Egypt 6-4 6-3.
"You always expect a tough match, but I wasn’t expecting that he had so much power with his forehand," Monfils said. "His forehand was super-fast and deep, wasn’t missing that much."
Monfils’ next opponent will be either Daniel Evans or Dustin Brown who play Tuesday.
There was one upset with Philipp Kohlschreiber defeating eighth-seeded Gilles Muller 6-4 7-6(1).
Also, sixth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain defeated Russian Karen Khachanov 6-1 7-6(4); Spaniard Marcel Granollers beat Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 6-3 6-2 and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain defeated Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-4 6-3.
In Acapulco, Heather Watson ousted qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands in straight sets to make the second round of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel WTA tournament.
Watson struggled with her serve as she double faulted 10 times but broke the American six times on the way to the 7-5 6-3 triumph in Mexico.
The 24-year-old will face second seed Kristina Mladenovic in the second round after she eased to a 6-2 6-3 win over Varvara Lepchenko.