The imperious Novak Djokovic is just one victory away from taking his tally to 700 singles wins after outclassing Tommy Robredo in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Djokovic, playing in his first tournament since his Australian Open triumph last month, can equal Ivan Lendl's record of reaching 18 consecutive finals this week.
And it would be a major surprise if the world number one fails to achieve that feat and also claim an eighth title in a row on the evidence of Monday's comfortable 6-1 6-2 victory over Robredo.
The top seed, returning to the court after taking a well-earned three weeks off, needed only 65 minutes to see off the unseeded Spaniard, who beat him when the two last met in Cincinnati two years ago, but never looked like repeating that achievement.
Four-time Dubai Tennis Championships winner Djokovic took the first break point opportunity of the match in the second game and never looked back, breaking again to win a marathon sixth game and wrapping up the first set at a canter.
Robredo showed great character to hold in the first game of the second set after saving two break points, but had no answer to the phenomenal Serb as he claimed another two breaks and lost just seven points on serve to set up a second-round match against Malek Jaziri.
Feliciano Lopez reached a significant milestone on day one of the tournament, getting the better of fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to record a 400th career victory.
The sixth seed triumphed 6-1 4-6 6-4, coming up with 16 aces and breaking four times to take his place in the second round.
Vasek Pospisil recovered from losing the second set to get past qualifier Lucas Pouille 6-3 5-7 6-4, while wildcard Jaziri beat Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets.
Chung Hyeon also moved into the second round at the expense of Andreas Seppi.