(CNN) -- Defending champion Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both came through first round matches at the Dubai Open with straight sets victories on Monday.
In the absence of world number one Roger Federer, who pulled out of the ATP event with a lung infection, the pair will be favorites to contest the final at the prestigious $2 million tournament.
Novak Djokovic beat world number 47 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-4 6-4, but the Serbian let slip a 5-0 lead in the second set before finally closing out the victory.
Murray, playing his first match since losing in the Australian Open to Federer, beat Russian qualifier Igor Kunitsyn 6-2 6-3 in one hour 41 minutes in a later first round match.
World number three Murray, who angered organizers by pulling out of the event in Marseille citing tiredness, was not at his best against an outclassed opponent.
But after a marathon second game he took a 2-0 lead, closing it out at the ninth time of asking and proceeded to break again at 5-2 to close out the set.
The Scot dropped his serve at the start of the second set but immediately broke back and then again for a 4-2 lead.
He saved a break point before serving it out and will play either Andreas Seppi of Italy or Serb Janko Tipsarevic, who face each other on Tuesday.
In other matches, Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis upset French eighth seed Gilles Simon 7-6 6-4 to reach the second round.
Baghdatis won in one hour 43 minutes despite receiving treatment for a stomach upset in the first set.
Djokovic will now play Viktor Troicki, who beat German wild card Rainer Schuettler 6-3 6-4.