Roger Federer breezed back into action to reach the second round of the Dubai Open with a straightforward 6-1 6-3 win over erratic Frenchman Benoit Paire on Monday.
In his first match since memorably claiming his 18th grand slam title by beating Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open a month ago, the 35-year-old was immediately back in the old routine to give Paire the runaround.
There was precious little resistance from the Frenchman as Swiss maestro Federer, the seven-times champion and third seed, delighted a large Centre Court crowd with flashes of brilliance.
Paire was warned for unsportsmanlike behavior at one point after hurling his racket and also needed treatment on a foot injury. Federer claimed victory in less than an hour.
“I think I returned very well for a first round. I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go into the offensive quickly,” Federer, who does much of his training in Dubai, told a news conference.
“Didn’t have to move that much. It was very quick rallies. So we’ll see how that’s going to turn out. But obviously couldn’t be a better first round for me here in Dubai.”
Top seed and world number one Andy Murray also returns after a lengthy layoff, which included a bout of shingles, when he takes on Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri on Tuesday.