Roger Federer of Switzerland returns the ball to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia during their match at the ATP Championships tennis tournament in Dubai, February 23, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
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Roger Federer crushed an old pal for the 16th successive time as he made an encouraging high-speed restart to the ATP World Tour after his Australian Open debacle.Youzhny, who has twice reached the final here, is still a fluent ground-stroker but only remained a contender in this match for the first seven games against a Federer intent on not playing too carefully in tricky conditions – a mistake he believes he made in Australia.After that Federer consolidated the break with a sharp service game before breaking again to close the first set.It was a startling contrast to the start of Ernests Gulbis, the fifth-seeded Latvian, who was in the world's top 10 at last year's Wimbledon, but is now at risk of tumbling rapidly from the top 20 after losing his seventh match in a row – and all five matches this year.
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