Top seeds Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic put up identical 6-3, 6-3 scorelines in their opening round matches today in Dubai. Federer, a four time Dubai winner, breezed past Somdev Devvarman while the defending champion Djokovic defeated Michael Llodra.
“I’ve had some tough ones over the years here actually in the early round,” Fed said. “That’s why I don’t judge my first rounds too harshly or whatever. It’s about coming through and giving yourself a second chance the next day and then kind of move on in the draw. All in all, I think the result is fair. I was able to play aggressive and serve well when I had to, and it was a decent match.”
Said Djokovic who has won all eight matches this year, “I’m happy with the performance today. I think he didn’t serve as well and as fast as our last match in Paris a couple of months back. But still, I was managing to return a lot of balls back and making him play an extra shot. I think I made a lot of returns in. That’s what made I think the difference.”
Also today, Frenchman Gilles Simon averted a eighth straight loss to Mikhail Youhzny by beating the Russian 6-3, 7-5. And Marcos Baghdatis had to retire to Andrey Golubev due to a fever which has been hitting some of the players this week.
Among the big matches tomorrow, Federer plays Marcel Granollers, Djokovic meets Feliciano Lopez and Tomas Berdych squares off against Nikolay Davydenko.
Tonight in Delray Beach, Juan Martin Del Potro resumes his return to tennis against 20-year-old Richard Berankis.
Following a busy indoor schedule which saw him win his maiden title in San Jose and reach the final in Memphis Sunday, Milos Raonic has elected to withdraw from the clay court Acapulco event today. The big-serving 20-year-old Canadian cited a sore shoulder as the reason.
“Pulled out of acapulco, its too bad I was really looking forward to the tournament it is a really nice tournament,” Raonic tweeted today. “I am here in acapulco and I am going to enjoy the sun and water and some R&R “.
Raonic is already in Mexico for Canada’s upcoming Davis Cup tie there.
Former Top 10 Mario will officially announce his retirement in a press conference tomorrow in his hometown of Split, Croatia. The 26-year-old who has endured numerous injuries will continue to practice law in Croatia.
DUBAI WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
R Gasquet (FRA) vs [Q] S Bubka (UKR)
N Davydenko (RUS) vs  T Berdych (CZE)
Not Before 7:00 PM
F Lopez (ESP) vs  N Djokovic (SRB)
 R Federer (SUI) vs M Granollers (ESP)
COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
A Golubev (KAZ) vs F Mayer (GER)
P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs P Petzschner (GER)
A Golubev (KAZ) / A Seppi (ITA) vs  M Llodra (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB)
Not Before 5:00 PM
J Nieminen (FIN) / V Troicki (SRB) vs R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) – Possible Court Change
COURT 3 start 3:00 pm
S Stakhovsky (UKR) vs  E Gulbis (LAT)
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