Roger Federer made to work for win as path to final opens up

Roger Federer made to work for win as path to final opens up
1 / 2
Roger Federer made to work for win as path to final opens up
2 / 2
Updated 25 February 2019

Roger Federer made to work for win as path to final opens up

Roger Federer made to work for win as path to final opens up
  • Swiss star beats Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to reach second round.
  • Milos Raonic and Karen Khachanov both suffer shock first-round defeats at the Aviation Club.

LONDON: Roger Federer was made to work for a place in the second round as the Swiss maestro beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in just over an hour and a half.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner broke the German in the first game and barely looked in trouble as he won the first set in just 31 minutes. Over the first half hour on court, Federer hit four aces and won his only break point. Kohlschreiber, on the other hand, had one break point but was not able to convert — the first set a perfect illustration of Federer in third gear, doing just enough to ease past a more-than-competent opponent.
But the expected charge to a two-set win did not materialize. Kohlschreiber has won eight titles and while his better days are behind him, the world No. 31 can still trouble the best in the game. He broke the Swiss early in the second to set up a third-set decider.
In his prime, Federer always backed himself to go up a gear come the big moments, be they tie-breaks or deciding sets, and the world No. 7 did just that, breaking Kohlschreiber for 2-0 at the start of the third, and from then on there was only one winner.

MIlos Raonic had a Dubai debut to forget as he was sent packing in the first round by Jan-Lennard Struff. (AFP) 


What was perhaps just as significant regarding Federer’s chances of winning a record eighth Dubai title were the defeats of Milos Raonic and Karen Khachanov. The seventh and fourth seeds were in Federer’s half of the draw, but their time at the Aviation Club was cut short.
Khachanov admitted he was gutted to be dumped out of the tournament, but promised he would be back to his best soon after Nikoloz Basilashvili beat him 6-4, 6-1.
The defeat was the Russian’s third consecutive first-round exit and came in just 69 minutes. But Khachanov vowed to bounce back, saying: “Of course, it’s not nice to lose in some tournaments.
“I have to really believe that I need to get to the level that I was playing.”
Former Wimbledon runner-up Raonic was beaten in three sets by Jan-Lennard Struff and said: “I’m not playing bad. I’m just not executing well in important moments. You go through a few matches where that happens.”