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Djokovic, Federer cruise in Dubai openers

World No. 3 Novak Djokovic is seeking to match Roger Federer's achievement of three successive titles in Dubai.
World No. 3 Novak Djokovic is seeking to match Roger Federer's achievement of three successive titles in Dubai.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Novak Djokovic begins title defense in Dubai with revenge win over Michael Llodra
  • Serbian second seed will next play two-time Dubai runner-up Feliciano Lopez
  • Four-time champion Roger Federer beats India's Somdev Devvarman in his opener
  • Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova beaten in first round of Qatar Ladies' Open

(CNN) -- Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic and four-time winner Roger Federer cruised into the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

Djokovic, playing his first match since winning the Australian Open for the second time on January 30, defeated Michael Llodra 6-3 6-3 to avenge his loss to the French in Paris last November.

The second-seeded Serbian will next play two-time Dubai runner-up Feliciano Lopez, with the Spaniard going through untroubled after Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun retired due to illness while 5-0 down in the first set.

"I'm happy with the performance. I think he didn't serve as well and as fast as our last match in Paris a couple of months back," Djokovic told the ATP Tour website.

Of course it's a great start, a grand slam title. It's a big achievement, but I want to move on and play consistently well all year
--Novak Djokovic
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"But still, I was managing to return a lot of balls back and making him play an extra shot. I think I made a lot of returns in. That's what made I think the difference."

Refreshed Djokovic focused on Dubai treble

Having missed this month's Rotterdam event due to a shoulder problem, Djokovic said he was trying not to dwell on his victory in Melbourne, where he won his only other grand slam title in 2008.

"I'm physically stronger and I'm really fit, and I don't want to be too happy about the success," he said. "Of course it's a great start, a grand slam title. It's a big win, a big achievement, but I want to move on and play consistently well all year."

World No. 2 Federer failed to defend his title in Australia, meaning he does not hold a grand slam crown for the first time in eight years, but he made a strong start in Dubai as he crushed Indian wild-card entry Somdev Devvarman 6-3 6-3.

The Swiss star, who now has a 26-3 record at an event he first won in 2003, will next play 53rd-ranked Marcel Granollers following the Spaniard's 6-1 6-3 win over Russia's Dmitry Tursunov.

"I was able to play aggressive and serve well when I had to, and it was a decent match," Federer said after his match against a man who had never previously faced a top-10 player.

Former world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko will next play Czech third seed Tomas Berdych after the Russian defeated Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2 6-0.

Fourth seed Mikhail Youzhny suffered a shock defeat, with the Russian losing 6-3 7-5 to world No. 33 Gilles Simon -- his first reverse in eight meetings with the Frenchman.

Serbian sixth seed Viktor Troicki also crashed out, losing 6-1 7-6 (7-2) to Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, while No. 7 Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus pulled out due to illness after losing the first four games against world No. 44 Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan.

There were also opening-round upsets at the Qatar Ladies' Open as Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova were eliminated on Tuesday.

Belarusian sixth seed Azarenka was beaten 4-6 6-1 6-2 by Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, who earned a clash with Russia's Vera Dushevina.

Two-time grand slam champion Kuznetsova reached the final in Dubai on Sunday, but the Russian was no match for Israeli eighth seed Shahar Peer as she went down 6-2 6-4.

Peer, beaten by world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals last week, will next play France's Marion Bartoli.

Dubai champion Wozniacki had a first-round bye and will begin her campaign against Russia's Nadia Petrova.

World No. 3 Vera Zvonareva, runner-up in 2008 when the event was last held, will face Dominika Cibulkova after the Slovakian battled to a 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) win over Australia's Jarmila Groth.

Serbian fifth seed Jelena Jankovic also progressed into the second round -- where she will play Indian wild-card entry Sania Mirza -- along with China's Peng Shuai and Italy's Flavia Pennetta.