Federer defeats Davydenko in battle of Doha champions

Defending Doha champion Roger Federer opened his 2012 ATP World Tour season with a commanding performance, cruising past Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-2 in a replay of last year's Qatar ExxonMobil Open final on Tuesday. "It was a combination of me playing really well and Nikolay not finding his range like we're used to seeing in the past," said Federer. "This is obviously an important step to get used to the conditions."

Federer stormed to an early lead, breaking Davydenko's serve at love to begin the match. The World No. 3 converted an insurance break in the seventh game, and clinched the set in just 23 minutes, firing 90 per cent of his first serves in play.

Things didn't pick up for Davydenko, the 2010 champion, who tossed in three double faults at the start of the second set. Federer continued to press the Russian's serve, breaking for the fourth time to move ahead 4-1. After Davydenko held in the seventh game, Federer shut the door, claiming the first-round clash in 54 minutes. The Swiss did not face a break point, and won 51 per cent of his return points to defeat the Russian for the 16th time in 18 meetings. "I thought my forehand and backhand were working. I think I had good variation on my serve," Federer said. "So I'm happy I was able to pull myself together and make that happen. Things have obviously changed here and I'm happy the conditions suit me."

Federer is riding an 18-match win streak, having finished 2011 with three straight titles at the Swiss Indoors Basel, BNP Paribas Masters and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. He is aiming to win his fourth title at the event after triumphing in 2011, 2006 and 2005. He'll take on qualifier Grega Zemlja in the second round.

Date: 04.01.2012, Source: ATP


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