Federer hands out more punishment to Youzhny

Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:22pm EST
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(Reuters) - Roger Federer eased to a 16th consecutive victory over Russia's Mikhail Youzhny to begin his quest for a seventh title at the Dubai Championships on Monday.

The Swiss world number two looked revitalized during a 6-3 6-1 stroll -- his first competitive match since a surprise third round defeat by Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open.

Only two head-to-head winning streaks are longer than Federer's over Youzhny -- Ivan Lendl's against Tim Mayotte (17) and Rafa Nadal's recently broken one against Tomas Berdych (18) -- and Youzhny looked resigned to his fate.

Federer banged down eight aces during a 56-minute exhibition and will face the winner of an all-Spanish clash between Fernando Verdasco and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in round two.

Joining the 33-year-old in the second round of the high-profile event was Denis Istomin who removed struggling fifth seed Ernests Gulbis 7-5 6-2.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Roger Federer of Switzerland serves to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia during their match at the ATP Championships tennis tournament in Dubai, February 23, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah