The world no. 7 and seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer has kicked off his 14th campaign at this event with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber, the 14th in as many matches against the German! This was the 49th win for Federer at one of his favorite tournaments and he had to work for it against a good friend with whom he trained here on Friday, losing the second set before a strong finish and the place in the last 16.
It wasn't the best possible match we could get due to windy conditions and the fact Roger played for the first time since that fourth-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at Melbourne Park although he did enough to prevail and stay in contention for the 100th ATP title.
The Swiss served at 72% and he got broken twice in the second set from three chances he gave to Philipp overall, creating eight break points on the other hand and scoring four breaks to bring sets one and three home. The opening set was decided in the very first game of the match when Kohlschreiber sprayed a forehand error, wasting a break chance in the fourth game when Federer blasted a good serve.
At deuce in game ten, Roger landed two good serves to wrap up the opener but he had to work harder in set number two, getting broken in game two before pulling it back at 1-3 when Philipp sent a forehand wide. Out of sudden, the German broke again in the sixth game following a deep return and he fended off three break points at 5-3 to cement the set with a forehand winner and force a decider.
There, Federer was back at his best, dropping two points behind the serve and breaking the rival in games two and six for a huge lead, racing towards the finish line with three winners in game seven to book the place in round two where he will face Fernando Verdasco.