Federer cruises in Dubai as Murray labours

Dubai: Roger Federer ranged from imperious to effective as he beat Michael Llodra 6-0 7-6 in the Dubai Championships on Tuesday but Britain`s Andy Murray was made to fight for his spot in the second round.

Federer raced through the first set in only 17 minutes, breaking his opponent three times in a ruthlessly dominant display of court craft.

The Swiss number two seed did not drop a game until the eighth of the match, but the Frenchman dug in to force a tie break in the second set.

The breaker was closely-fought but Federer eventually won it 8-6 with a backhand on the run. He will now play Spaniard Felicano Lopez, who beat France`s Nicolas Mahut 6-4 6-4.

World number four Murray was pushed hard by German qualifier Michael Berrer before winning 6-3 4-6 6-4 to book his place in the second round.

The third seed, who was playing his first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-final of the Australian Open in January, led by a set and 3-2 before Berrer fought back to clinch the second.

Murray looked sluggish at the start of the decider, but broke to lead 5-4 and then comfortably closed out the match.

"At the start of the match I didn`t feel great," Murray said on the ATP website.

"It was one of those strange sets. It was quite a frustrating match because I was up a break twice in the second set, and each time I think gave it straight back.

"I could have made it a little bit easier for myself if I played a bit better."

Murray will face Marco Chiudinelli in the second round after the Swiss overcame Russia`s Nikolay Davydenko 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fought past Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 7-6 6-4 while Czech Tomas Berdych beat Germany`s Benjamin Becker 6-2 6-2.

Bureau Report