Roger Federer was back in action on Monday as he faced Frenchman Benoit Paire in the first round of the 2017 Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai. Federer did not look any less sharp for the time off since Melbourne Park. He defeated Paire in the tournament's first round with a convincing line score of 6-1, 6-3. The victory improved Federer's record on the season to 8-0 as he looks to claim his 2nd title of the ATP season.

Dubai tournament is part of 500-series

The men's tournament in Dubai awards 500 ranking points to its eventual champion. That has made it a fairly well-contested event with Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych also in the draw.

Seeds that advanced on Monday besides Federer included Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista-Agut. Neither player was troubled much as each advanced in straight sets.

Federer is not on the Order of Play for Tuesday. He will await the winner of the Mikhail Youzhny/Evgeny Donskoy contest for what should be a straight-forward second-round match for the Swiss Maestro. Donskoy, a Russian qualifier, is ranked outside of the top 100 on the men's tour. Youzhny is a far more proven player, however he'll turn 35-years-old later this year and he has not hung onto an approximation of his best tennis for as long as Federer has. The Russian has fallen outside of the top 80 and seems unlikely to defeat Federer.

Looking ahead, the Australian Open champion appears likely to make at least the semifinals in Dubai where he may still face Murray. The Scot himself has not opened his campaign, but he will do so on Tuesday against Malek Jaziri.

Lucas Pouille tired this week?

The seeded player nearest to Federer remains Lucas Pouille. The French player did not have a good start to his season in January, however he seemed to have turned things around just last week.

At ATP Marseille, Pouille advanced to the final before losing to the resurging Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The efforts of playing last week and lasting all the way to the 250-series title match could mean that the 22- year-old will tire quickly in the upcoming days. That's a big reason why Federer seems like a huge favorite to make at least the semifinals in Dubai.

On the opposite side of the draw, Stan Wawrinka still has to open his campaign. The Swiss player is also on the Order of Play for Tuesday as he prepares to face Damir Dzumhur. The days ahead do promise to feature some key tour match-ups after the opening rounds. Wawrinka could face Berdych in the quarters while Bautista-Agut could face Gael Monfils. The final of the hard-court event takes place on March 5th as tennis fans look to see who is in form ahead of the American hard-court swing.