The seven-time champion at Dubai had to battle swirly conditions to ultimately prevail 6-4, 3-6 and 6-1 over the German.
Seeded second in the tournament, Federer was broken thrice on his serve in the second set as Kohlschreiber rallied back strongly. However, the Swiss then turned on the style in the deciding set to book his passage to the second round where he will be up against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.
It took the 20-time Grand Slam winner just over an hour and a half to extinguish the 31st ranked German’s challenge at the Aviation Club.
While expressing his relief at overcoming the first hurdle in tricky conditions, Federer conceded that Kohlschreiber had posed a tricky test.
“I’m just happy to get through, it was tricky conditions out there,” the Swiss was quoted as saying by AFP.
“Philipp caused me a lot of trouble and we played in swirly conditions. All of a sudden it (the wind) could stop and you could be a break down. That also plays in your head a little bit.
“I know the game’s there. It was just really difficult conditions tonight.”
Meanwhile, Federer’s second-round opponent Verdasco lost the first set again Thomas Fabbiano before coming back from behind to win 3-6, 6-3 and 6-2.
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