Andy Murray rallies for Dubai win
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Roger Federer brushed aside Michael Llodra 6-0, 7-6 (6) to reach the second round of the Dubai Championships Tuesday, but an error-prone Andy Murray needed three sets to beat German qualifier Michael Berrer.
Fourth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also survived a tight match against Marcos Baghdatis, beating the 46th-ranked Cypriot 7-6 (2), 6-4 to set up a second-round encounter with Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic.
Federer needed only 17 minutes to win the first set, dictating play on his serve and using a solid return game to break the Frenchman three times. The second set was a much tighter affair, as both players held their serve throughout and Llodra forced the tiebreaker.
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The second-seeded Federer had a 4-2 advantage in the tiebreaker, but Llodra ran off three points to go up 5-4 and had a set point at 6-5. But Federer saved it with a forehand that just caught the line and then ran off the final two points to win the match in a little more than an hour.
"It's always great to start off a tournament winning the first set 6-love. I don't know when that's the last time it's happened to me," said Federer, who is seeking his fifth Dubai title.
Murray, playing his first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals, looked ragged and at times his movement appeared labored in his 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Berrer. He said later that he didn't "feel great" at the start of the match and at times felt nauseated.
"It was quite a frustrating match because I was up a break in the second set, and each time I think gave it straight back," Murray said. "And then the third set again I went up a break and gave the break straight back. So I could have made it a little bit easier for myself if I played a bit better."
Baghdatis served for the first set at 5-4 against Tsonga, who complained of fatigue coming into his match. But Tsonga broke back, then easily won the tiebreaker.
In the second set, the fifth-ranked Tsonga stepped up his game. He broke Baghdatis to go up 3-2 and never trailed after that.
"It was a tough challenge," said Tsonga, who won the title in Qatar last month and reached the semis last week in Marseille. "Because it was not easy. Not a lot of energy. Without this energy it's difficult to play. But I was there mentally and I did it, so I'm really happy."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press