It was Federer's first match since winning the Australian Open last month, his 18th Grand Slam title. But the 35-year-old Swiss showed no rust in the rout, winning nearly 70 per cent of his service points and saving all three break points faced. Federer broke Paire twice in the first set as the Frenchman struggled to stay in rallies. The Swiss broke twice more in the second set to earn his fourth win in as many tries against Paire.
“There were some break points to be saved, and, you know, I think I returned very well for a first round. I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go into the offensive quickly,” Federer said.
“I'm happy with how I played and I was able to stay aggressive. 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 will meet a Russian in the second round, either veteran Mikhail Youzhny or qualifier Evgeny Donskoy. He improves to 48-5 at the tournament with the win against Paire.
“I have played here for so many years, seen the tournament grow,” Federer said. “And especially after Australia, fans and myself know how special it is for me to be back on the court. It was a nice welcome. Very thankful always.”
He faces a tough road from here, though. Top seed Andy Murray and second seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka could meet Federer in the semi-finals and final, respectively.
Date: 27 February 2017, Source: ATP and Dubai Championships