ATP Dubai Open 2015: Preview

Three weeks after Novak Djokovic won his fifth Australian Open title in Melbourne; the tennis season now runs into a hectic six week schedule starting with ATP 500 events on the hard courts of Dubai and Acapulco next week and also an ATP 250 event on the clay courts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. That will be followed by the first round of action in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas who are also the lead sponsors of the 11day long 96 player field in the desert of Indian Wells, California in the week after the Davis cup. That ATP 1000 event will be followed by another 11 day long 96 player field in Miami, Florida which would be the second of nine ATP 1000 to be played in 2015.

Four of the worlds top ten players will be in action in Dubai where the four time champion and world number one Djokovic will take on Canada’s Vacek Pospisil who was on the brink of top 20 in 2013. Roger Federer; the six time champion and the world number two will have a relatively difficult assignment against,the 2007 & 2010 runner up Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. The man who put him out in the first round in 2008; the 2012 runner up Andy Murray the Australian Open runner up and world number four plays the in-form left hander Gilles Muller of Luxembourg who reached the last sixteen in Melbourne before loosing to the eventual champion Djokovic. Last two years loosing finalist Tomas Berdych faces the dangerous Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Federer who won five events in 2014 ( Dubai, Halle, Cincinnati, Shanghai and Basel) and led the tour with 73 wins in the calendar year has a difficult draw as he could play his conqueror at the Australian Open Andreas Seppi once again in the third round. Before that he could meet the Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez who won the PZB Zagreb ATP 250 event in the week following the Australian Open. Should the draw go as per seeding he plays the Scottsman Andy Murray whom he beat in the 2012 final. Djokovic on the other hand has drawn three qualifiers in his quarter of the draw and should have few problems reaching the semi final where he could meet the Czech Tomas Berdych in a repeat of the 2013 final where the Czech upset Federer in the last four before the latter got his revenge in the 2014 final. World number one Novak Djokovic has won the event in 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2013 while Federer won in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2012 & 2014. The Serb is 30-4 while the Swiss has a 42-5 record in Dubai. Federer beat Djokovic in the semi-final stage last year in three sets before eventually beating Berdych in the final which was another three setter.

In a repeat of the second round match up in Melbourne; David Goffin the no 8 seed will look to avenge his defeat at the hands of the Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis who has got a wild card in the 32 man draw. The Belgian is seeded to meet Andy Murray in the last eight. The sixth seeded Spanish left hander Feliciano Lopez who was runner up in Dubai in 2004 & 2008 faces a qualifier in the first round and could meet Djokovic in the quarter final. The Latvian Ernest Gulbis is seeded fifth and faces Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the first round. He is Berdych’s projected quarter final opponent. The seeding is completed by another Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut who faces Dominic Thiem and could play Federer in the last eight.

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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