Roger Federer defeated world No. 34 Marcel Granollers on Wednesday at the Dubai Open, advancing to the quarterfinals to play Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.
Federer defeated Granollers in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. He rode his trusty serving game to victory, winning 84 percent of first-serve points and notching two aces in the final set, per ATPWorldTour.com.
Then again, nothing Federer has done yet in 2013 has proven anything.
As a 17-time Grand Slam singles champion, the 31-year-old is more interested in if he can hang with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at this age. The fact that it's a question whether he can hang with Murray tells you all you need to know.
Beating Granollers is nothing for a player of Federer's history. Given he owns an 18-2 lifetime record against Davydenko, it wouldn't be that big of a deal if he advanced past the quarterfinals, either. Defeating Tomas Berdych in the semifinals would be a small victory, given Berdych defeated him in the U.S. Open last year, but it would still only be a small one.
Federer has been a top-three player on the ATP Tour throughout most of his illustrious career. It's always been about him and Rafael Nadal, him and Djokovic or—most recently—him and Djokovic and Murray. In that sense, he hasn't shown he is still at the top of the pyramid until he beats Djokovic or Murray this year.
This year, Federer had his first chance to yell at the top of the mountain facing Murray in the semifinals of the Australian Open. He ultimately failed to emerge victorious, falling in the fifth set, 2-6.
Federer will have another opportunity to defy Father Time if he meets Djokovic in the final of the Dubai Open this year. Federer went 2-3 against the Serb last year, but he also defeated him in the semifinals at Wimbledon en route to his seventh career Wimbledon championship.
Federer struggled in the first set of the Dubai Open this year against Malek Jaziri. He has since picked it up, but his victory over Granollers is not much of a barometer.
Moving forward, Federer will be judged by how he fares against the likes of Djokovic and Murray, not by his victories against the likes of Jaziri and Granollers.