Roger Federer on Monday began his charge for a 100th career title by dispatching Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 on a windy Centre Court in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Second seed Federer had to deal with a tricky opponent and strong gusts at the Aviation Club in front of nearly 5,500 fans, needing all three sets to make it past the opening round.
The Swiss, a seven-time Dubai champion, had to go up a gear in the third set to advance to a second-round meeting with Fernando Verdasco after German Kohlschreiber made a match of it by winning the second.
“I’m just happy to get through, it was tricky conditions out there,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion said after his 14th straight win over Kohlschreiber, his friend and practice partner. “Philipp caused me a lot of trouble and we played in swirly conditions. All of a sudden it [the wind] could stop and you could be a break down. That also plays in your head a little bit. I know the game’s there. It was just really difficult conditions tonight.”
Federer, who is seeded behind Kei Nishikori, swept the opening set after breaking in the first game, but was pegged back.
World No. 31 Kohlschreiber made a match of it in the second set, breaking Federer three times on his way to taking the set 6-3.
The final game of the set was a nine-minute thriller, with the Swiss seed saving three set points, before Kohlschreiber leveled the match with a volleyed winner, but Federer cruised to the third set and the next round.
Earlier on Monday, seeds Karen Khachanov and Milos Raonic suffered surprise first-round exits in testing conditions.
Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili stunned Russian fourth seed Khachanov 6-4, 6-1, while world No. 14 Raonic was beaten on his Dubai debut 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 by German Jan-Lennard Struff.
Khachanov went down in just 69 minutes to world No. 19 Basilashvili, winner of two titles last season, as winds played havoc during the day.
“I know Karen is not having his best time at this moment, but I also did not have great beginning of the season,” Basilashvili said. “I was able to manage my nerves just [for the] whole match, especially in the windy conditions. It was really tough, [and I’m] really happy for sure.”
Raonic battled for more than two hours, but he was unable to get past Struff.
In an unusual incident, one of Raonic’s rocket serves struck a ball girl straight in face.
After a five-minute pause for treatment, she was led off court, but the girl returned at the end of the match and shook hands with the player, who gave her a racket.
The Canadian fired 15 aces in his losing effort, dropping serve twice.
Struff advanced into a second-round match with Marton Fucsovics after the Hungarian defeated Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 7-6 (7/5).
Former finalist Verdasco smashed 13 aces as he put out Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two