DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Defending champion Novak Djokovic needed less than an hour to advance at the Dubai Championships on Wednesday, while Roger Federer faced a struggle to seal his place in the quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Djokovic swept to a 6-1, 6-3 win over 51st-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in just 57 minutes, but fourth-seeded Federer had to see off a serious challenge from 48th-ranked Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic before coming through 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3.
Djokovic will play sixth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny, who beat British wildcard recipient James Ward 6-1, 7-6 (3).
Federer came into his two hour, eight minute match with a 12-2 winning record over Stepanek. He's now won their last nine meetings dating back to the 2008 Rome quarterfinals.