Federer sets up clash with Verdasco at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

ATP Dubai Gael Monfils bagels Marin Cilic. Tsitsipas Berdych Coric win

ATP Dubai Gael Monfils bagels Marin Cilic. Tsitsipas Berdych Coric win

"I thought he played very well in swirly conditions".

"(My thinking was to) just somehow get through.

"I'm part of the field, it's great, I'm healthy, I'll give myself the best chance".

Russian Khachanov was felled by world number 19 Nikoloz Basilashvili who prevailed 6-4 6-1, while Raonic was beaten 6-4 5-7 6-4 by German Jan-Lennard Struff.

The Swiss maestro will next face former finalist Fernando Verdasco, who reached the second round after overcoming a gallant challenge from qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Federer has dominated Dubai Stadium courts by winning hat-trick of titles between 2003 to 2005 followed by another four crowns in 2007, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Every day I saw her at the courts, every day I congratulated her, every day she went on to win the next one.

"We look forward to seeing if Roger Federer can win here yet again and set a new career milestone of 100 titles, if our No. 1 seed Kei Nishikori can win on his debut, or if the victor will be one of the many other talented players competing here this week".

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"I'm not so sure I would say it anyway, it has to remain a secret or I'll be out of the game very quickly!"

"I think that's why he's still playing, for those kinds of matches, so I have to be careful".

Second seed Federer had to deal with a tricky opponent and strong gusts at the Aviation Club in front of almost 5,500 fans at the Aviation Club, needing all three sets to make it past the opening round. Usually they do it when I'm in the lead, but they were chanting my name, so I took it as a positive. "It was just really hard conditions tonight". He lost the first round to Stan Wawrinka at the Qatar Open. "It was a pleasure to see her play a little bit, and also happy that everything is coming together (after her injury struggles)".

The final game of the set was a nine-minute thriller, with the Swiss seed saving three set points before Kohlschreiber levelled the match with a volley victor. He's a tough opponent. I was really feeling well hitting.

Raonic battled for more than two hours but was unable to get past Struff.

Federer was quickly out of the blocks with a break in the opening game and the set remained on serve thereafter, Kohlschreiber saving the first set point with a backhand volley at the net following a superb rally only for the Swiss to edge ahead via successive aces.

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