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Federer breezes through at Doha

Australian tennis sensation grabbed the spotlight with an easy 6-1 6-3 victory in the first round of Qatar Open.

tennis Updated: Jan 04, 2006 13:29 IST

Top-ranked Roger Federer breezed through his first match of 2006 while another former champion Younes El Aynaoui grabbed the spotlight with an upset victory in thefirst round of Qatar Open.

After a sprained ankle troubled Federer at the end of last year, he hit the ground running by casting aside Czech qualifier Ivo Minar 6-1 6-3.

"It's great to find some momentum early in the season," said Federer, who has won his first tournament in three of the past four years.

El Aynaoui, the 2002 champ and finalist 10 years ago, was previously bothered by foot and shoulder problems. He didn't win a match in 2004 and won only once on the main tour in 2005.

But yesterday, the lanky Moroccan appeared in form as he outhustled fourth-seeded Sebastien Grosjean of France 6-4 6-4, much to the joy of hundreds of cheering Arab supporters.

"Obviously it's not easy at 33 to try and revive your career, but the match against Sebastien has definitely given me the confidence to aim high this year," he said.

Federer will next face 2000 champ Fabrice Santoro after the French veteran defeated Austrian qualifier Oliver Marach 6-0 2-6 6-4.

First Published: Jan 04, 2006 13:29 IST