Roger Federer needed just 54 minutes on court as he marked his return to action with a comprehensive victory over Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-3 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The third seed was clinical in converting his break point chances, taking all three opportunities as he booked his place in the second round. The Frenchman looked disengaged at times and appeared to be struggling with an ankle injury, not to mention his bad conduct on court, which led to him receiving warnings for his behaviour.

These two players had met on three previous occasions, but not since 2013, when Federer won in straight sets 7-6(5), 6-4 at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome.

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The Swiss had also won their two matches prior to that, without dropping a set.

Fast start from Federer

The contest struggled to live up to its full billing from early on as an ankle problem sustained by Paire clearly inhibited his ability to go toe to toe with his opponent. Both players held their opening service games before the Frenchman started to feel the effects of the injury, dropping serve to love.

Paire looked disinterested as he half heartedly struck a return of serve on the backhand side on the opening point of Federer’s service game, but swiftly reengaged as a couple of errors from the Swiss gave the Frenchman two break back points. Federer responded with two first serves, snuffing out the chance. The former top 20 player made the current #Australian Open champion face another break point, but a well executed cross court volley at the net kept Federer in the game and allowed him to progress to hold.

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After failing to capitalise on an excellent chance, Paire took a medical timeout to receive treatment. The world number 39 still looked uncomfortable on court, continuing to test out his ankle. After squandering a chance to hold, Federer only needed one opportunity to secure a double break and take a commanding 5-1 lead.

The Swiss appeared to be a bit distracted by what was going on at the other end of the court himself as he fell down 0-30 on serve. However, the Swiss responded emphatically, racing through the next four points, finishing with a quick first serve which Paire dumped into the net on the return as Federer closed out the set 6-1 after 27 minutes of play.

Equally as dominant second set from the Swiss

Neither player was hanging around when stepping up to the line, as both stormed through their first two service games in the second set. Just when it looked as though the Frenchman had settled into the contest he threw in another poor service game, handing the break of serve to Federer to love as the Swiss moved 3-2 in front.

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Paire had a couple of half chances to salvage the match and earn the break back as he pushed his opponent to 30-30 and to multiple points at deuce, but unruffled, Federer held with an ace to close in on victory.

Paire gets himself into trouble

The world number 39 had been throwing his racket around, particularly towards the ground throughout the contest and caused quite a stir when he flung his racket towards the advertising boards. Subsequently, the umpire handed him a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct. Noticeably the umpire chose to give this warning as it carries a heftier fine than for racket abuse, as the Frenchman’s actions were potentially dangerous.

Federer joins Bautista Agut and Kohlschreiber in round two

That proved to be the last fireworks we saw from the Frenchman at this event after Paire dropped serve in the ninth game to secure a routine victory for Federer 6-1, 6-3, much to the delight of the Dubai crowd.

The Swiss, a seven time champion at this event, advances to face the winner of the match between two-time runner-up Mikhail Youzhny and Russian compatriot Evgeny Donskoy, who came through the qualifying rounds.

Earlier on today there were also wins for sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Marcel Granollers and Philipp Kohlschreiber, who took out eighth seed Gilles Muller 6-4, 7-6(1). #Roger Federer #Benoit Paire