Dubai: India's Somdev Devvarman beat Russian Igor Kunitsyn for the first time in four meetings when he easily won his first round at the Dubai Duty Free tennis championships in straight sets 6-1, 6-4 here on Monday night.
Devvarman, using his protected ranking as he is returning from an injury break, got a direct entry here and continued his good form to outclass the Russian, who is presently ranked 167 on the ATP charts, in 65 minutes. The Indian, who was out with an injury for most part of last year and is currently ranked 315, looked far more impressive than the Russian who in 2009 had his best ranking at 35.
Somdev, whose best ranking was 62 two years ago, raced through the first set dropping just one game and with an early break he looked on a cruise in the second set, too. But the Russian broke back to tie two games all.
Somdev was back in the driver's seat by breaking Kunitsyn again in the seventh game and with his steady hitting from the back court he clinched his next two service games. The Indian will next take on Juan Martin Del Potro, who beat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, in the second round.
Second-seeded Roger Federer had a tough first round match against Tunisian Malek Jaziri, dropping the first set before recovering to take the next two without breaking sweat, 5-7, 6-0, 6-2.