Federer begins title defence at Dubai Championships

Roger Federer opened his Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title defence on Monday with a 5-7, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri. Federer improved to a 35-4 record at this ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament, having lifted the trophy in 2003-2005, ’07 and last year with victory over Andy Murray.

The Swiss overcame a slow start, surrendering his serve in the 11th game as World No. 128 Jaziri, playing his first ATP World Tour match since October 2012, clinched the opening set with a backhand winner down the line.

Federer responded to losing the first set by sweeping through the second with ease, as Jaziri failed even to earn a game point until he trailed 5-0. Even so, it was Jaziri who earned the first opportunity in the final set, holding a break point to lead 2-1. But he made an error on his return and Federer recovered to win that game and then from 2-2 the number two seed gave up just three points in the last four games and won 12 of the last 14 games to prevail in 90 minutes.

"I had rocky starts to the tournament here in previous years," said Federer. "And, you know, I played somewhat fast so there was not much rhythm out there. I think we were both not playing really well in the beginning."

"We were both missing a lot of first serves, or him in particular. I think because I couldn't take advantage I went from not so good to really not so good, and then he got better naturally, which I was hoping to do as well."

"It important to sort of react and make sure I didn't panic," said Federer. "But, of course your mind starts to wander, especially in a match where there is hardly any rallies. He's going for broke on every return. All you're trying to do is get into some rallies, and you're missing a lot yourself."

"It was a difficult match for me out here tonight, but I'm happy I found a way and got a day off now so I can work a little bit on the game. Just maybe the pressure is off a little bit, and then automatically I will play a lot better in the second round."

''I give everything today. I did my best,'' said Jaziri.

Date: 25th February 2013, Source: ATP


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