Federer beats Llodra, plays Lopez next

Four-time former champion Roger Federer defeated last week's Open 13 finalist Michael Llodra of France 6-0, 7-6(6) on Tuesday night at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Second seed Federer won the first 11 points of the match and dropped seven points overall (five on his own serve) to win the 18-minute first set.  World No. 40 Llodra snapped a seven-game streak for 1-1 in the second set, much to the delight of the capacity crowd at The Aviation Club. The Frenchman held one set point at 6-5 in the tie-break, which Federer saved with a forehand winner.

Federer closed out his 30th match win at the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament with a backhand winner to complete a 67-minute victory. He hit seven aces and won 43 of his 57 service points.

"It's always great to start off a tournament winning the first set 6-0," said Federer. "After that, I really had to sort of make sure I controlled Michael as much as I could because I know he's a dangerous player. I think I was solid. I could have served maybe a touch better. But still, I was never really in a whole lot of problems. Tie-breakers, as we saw, can go quickly either way, especially on a quick court like tonight. I hope I back it up day for day now."

The 30-year-old Federer has won his past 72 matches against players outside the Top 20 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings (last loss to No. 32 Hewitt at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle in June 2010). He has a 12-2 match record on the season, highlighted by one title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. del Potro).

Federer will next play unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who saved both break points he faced to oust Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4 in 69 minutes.

Date: 28.02.2012, Source: ATP


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