Federer, Nadal, Safin win Dubai openers

Feb. 28, 2006 at 6:47 PM
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Three-time defending champion Roger Federer, Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Russian Marat Safin were winners Tuesday at the $1 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

Federer, top-seeded and world No. 1, won his 16th straight match in Dubai by beating fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Federer has now won his last 53 matches on hard courts, with his last loss on the surface coming against Safin in the 2005 Australian Open semifinals.

Federer, who holds the current Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon titles, beat Croat Ivan Ljubicic in last year's Dubai finale.

Tuesday was Federer's first action since he won a second Australian Open title in January.

Second-seeded Nadal, reigning French Open champ, posted a 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-2 decision against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Safin made his 2006 debut on Tuesday and upset third-seeded fellow Russian Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

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