Dubai, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Multiple champions Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and former runner-up Andy Murray were a trio of second-round winners Wednesday at the $2 million Dubai Tennis Championships.
The world No. 1 Djokovic drubbed Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev 6-1, 6-2 in 61 minutes, while the second-seeded former No. 1 Federer dismissed Spanish left- handier Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-3 and the third-seeded Murray mauled rising Portuguese Joao Sousa 6-0, 6-2 at this lucrative hardcourt event.
"Having one match under my belt before today's encounter helped me to feel a bit more comfortable to move around on the court quicker, and I tried to take away the time from my opponent today," admitted Djokovic. "It was just a much better performance than yesterday. Hopefully I can improve as the tournament progresses."
The Wimbledon champion Djokovic beat Murray in last month's Australian Open final.
Djokovic is a four-time champion in Dubai, winning three straight titles here from 2009-11 and prevailing again in 2013. Murray was the runner-up here to Federer in 2012.
Trailing 4-1 against Verdasco, Federer delighted the packed stadium by winning 20 consecutive points to take the first set of the 1-hour match.
"I didn't even know that happened until someone told me afterwards," Federer said of winning five games in a row without losing a point. "I look back, it's quite a lot of points in a row and it might be the only time it's ever happened for me.
"Fernando is a shotmaker and he takes it out of your racket sometimes."
The 33-year-old reigning champion Federer owns a record six Dubai titles, including a victory over Tomas Berdych in last year's finale.
A fourth-seeded Berdych became the eighth active player with 500 match victories by holding off Italian Simone Bolelli 7-6 (9-7), 5-7, 6-0. Berdych lost in the previous two Dubai finals.
Meanwhile, Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan ousted sixth-seeded Spaniard Feliciano and two-time Dubai runner-up Lopez 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 and former top-10 Frenchman Richard Gasquet derailed seventh-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6).
Additional second-round results saw Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky best Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and rising Croatian teenager Borna Coric get past former Aussie Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 3-6, 6-6, as the Cypriot wild card "Baggy" retired before the start of the third-set tiebreak.
Thursday's quarterfinals at Aviation Tennis Centre will pit Djokovic against Ilhan; Federer versus Gasquet; Murray against Coric; and Berdych versus Stakhovsky. The top-four seeds are all still standing, while the other four quarterfinalists are all non-seeds.
This year's Dubai champ will earn $505,000.