|Novak Djokovic hits a return to Sergiy Stakhovsky during their men's singles match at the Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 29, 2012. (MOHAMMED SALEM/Reuters)
DUBAI - Three-time reigning champion Novak Djokovic, four-time titlist Roger Federer and world No. 4 Andy Murray were among Wednesday's second-round winners at the star-studded $1.7 million Dubai Tennis Championships.
The world No. 1 Djokovic handled Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, while the second-seeded Federer topped Spanish lefthander Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-3 and a third-seeded Murray drilled Swiss qualifier Marco Chiudinelli 6-3, 6-4 on the hardcourts at Dubai Tennis Stadium. Federer fired 12 aces at Lopez and did not allow even one break-point chance on Day 3. Murray also did not allow a break-point opportunity in his victory over Chiudinelli.
Djokovic, playing his first tennis in a month this week, improved to 9-0 this year, which includes an Australian Open title from last month. Federer was a titlist in Rotterdam just two weeks ago.
The high-flying Djokovic defeated Federer in last year's finale in Dubai, as the two men have combined to win seven of the last nine titles here.
Up next for the reigning Aussie Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon titlist Djokovic on Thursday will be seventh-seeded fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic, while the 16- time Grand Slam champion Federer will encounter former top-10 Russian Mikhail Youzhny and Murray will meet fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.
One other marquee quarterfinal will pit fourth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilified Tsonga against surging eighth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who is fresh off his title in Marseille last week and lost to Federer in the Rotterdam final the week before that.
The former Aussie Open runner-up Tsonga doused Czech Lukas Rosol 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday, while the former U.S. Open champion del Potro pasted Kazakhstani qualifier Andrey Golubev 6-4, 6-2.
In other Wednesday action, the former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych blitzed Slovakian qualifier Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-2, Youzhny upended sixth-seeded American Mardy Fish 6-2, 7-6 (7-0) and Tipsarevic came back to beat Italian Flavio Cipolla 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 6-1.
Fish also lost early last week in Marseille.
"It's no disgrace to lose to someone like him [Youzhny], but it's frustrating to lose," Fish said. "I had a rough trip, last couple of matches did sting a little bit going into Indian Wells and Miami."
The 2012 Dubai champ will collect $409,170.