Swiss superstar Roger Federer is back in action on the ATP tour, where he will begin a campaign to regain a title he won on five previous occasions, starting with a opening round contest against Germany’s Benjamin Becker. The Swiss No. 2 had defeated Becker in all three of their previous encounters, bringing their head-to-head series to a perfect 3-0 heading into Monday’s match-up.
In his first ATP World Tour contest since his semi-final exit to Nadal at the Australian Open, world No. 8 Roger Federer is looking to rebound with his first title of the season in Dubai. In a tournament that features five of the Top 10 competitors, including Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro, Federer will need to find top form to remain successful at this event. His opening round match will take place on the opening day of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships against Benjamin Becker.
“Physically I’m really fit, which is very encouraging,” said Federer “I must say, I’m very confident about how I’m feeling. I can run for every ball. I’m waking up in the morning with no pain. I think this is as good as I’ve felt in probably a year. That’s good a good sign looking ahead and now I just have to stay injury free.”
The 32 year old holds a 37-5 record at the event, winning five titles between 2003-12, and finishing runner-up on two other occasions. Federer is defending semi-final points this week, having lost to Berdych at that stage of the tournament last year.
“The conditions are rather quick, so it’s hard to control the ball well. So when you can play good tennis here, it feels like you can play good tennis anywhere else. I’ve struggled in the early rounds here in previous years sometimes, but overall it’s been a very successful hunting ground for me and I hope for another good run this year.”
World No. 92 Benjamin Becker is coming off a first round loss to Marin Cilic in Delray Beach. The German is 3-5 in ATP World Tour competition, and has only managed to reach the second round in three events: Chennai, Zagreb and Memphis. His match-up with Federer tomorrow afternoon marks only his second Top 10 opponent this season, having lost to Stanislas Wawrinka at the start of the season.
This marks the fourth time the two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Becker yet to earn his first win over the seven-time Wimbledon champion. Federer has not lost in the opening round in Dubai since 2008, when he lost to British No. 1 Andy Murray in their opening round encounter. Two of Federer’s three wins over Becker have come in hard court competition and he will be looking to add to that record tomorrow afternoon with another straight sets win.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets