Karen Khachanov earned a 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 win over Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin to reach the second round of the Dubai Championships on Monday.
The world number 17, who lives in the emirate, twice hit back from a break down in the opening set before cruising through the second.
“The first round is pretty tough, I always try to get used to it,” said Russian Khachanov.
“I’m really happy I could get the win. I have another match, another opportunity to play better, like always, to improve.”
Khachanov said he is in his element in expat-dominated Dubai, which has a large Russian community.
“This year I decided to train even more here, to spend more time. I really love Dubai,” he said. “It’s very international and it feels like kind of home with all the Russian people here.”
World number one Novak Djokovic faces Tunisian Malek Jaziri later on Monday in his first match since winning a record-extending eighth Australian Open earlier this month.
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