Federer blasts past Llodra in opener

Tennis Foreign round-up: Murray forced to dig deep by German qualifier Berrer in first round

Roger Federer ranged from imperious to effective as he beat Michael Llodra 6-0, 7-6 in the Dubai Championships on Tuesday but Britain's Andy Murray was made to fight for his spot in the second round.

Federer raced through the first set in only 17 minutes, breaking his opponent three times in a ruthlessly dominant display of court craft.

The Swiss number two seed did not drop a game until the eighth of the match, but the Frenchman dug in to force a tie-break in the second set.

The tie-break was closely-fought but Federer eventually won it 8-6 with a backhand on the run. He will now play Spaniard Felicano Lopez, who beat France's Nicolas Mahut 6-4 6-4.

World number four Murray was pushed hard by German qualifier Michael Berrer before winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to book his place in the second round.

The third seed, who was playing his first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal of the Australian Open in January, led by a set and 3-2 before Berrer fought back to clinch the second.

Murray looked sluggish at the start of the decider, but broke to lead 5-4 and then comfortably closed out the match.

"At the start of the match I didn't feel great," Murray said on the ATP website.
"It was one of those strange sets. It was quite a frustrating match because I was up a break twice in the second set, and each time I think gave it straight back.  "I could have made it a little bit easier for myself if I played a bit better."

Murray will face Marco Chiudinelli in the second round after the Swiss overcame Russia's Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.  Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fought past Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 7-6, 6-4 while Czech Tomas Berdych beat Germany's Benjamin Becker 6-2, 6-2.

On Monday, world number one Novak Djokovic's first competitive outing since last month's epic Australian Open final was a routine affair as he posted a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.

“I'm happy with the first match after four weeks definitely,” Djokovic told reporters.
 “It's really nice stepping out on the court and seeing a full stadium and having a lot of support. I'm very flattered.”

Sania exits

In the WTA Tour event at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, India’s Sania Mirza went down 2-6, 6-1, 4-6 to Eleni Daniilidou of Greece in the opening round.

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