ATP Dubai Open 2011 Tennis Championship Preview | ATP Dubai Open 2011
ATP Dubai Open 2011 Tennis Championship Preview: The Association of Tennis Professionals Champions Tour brings together many of the greatest players in the history of tennis for nostalgic, competitive and entertaining tournaments in cities around the world.
To be eligible to compete on the ATP Champions Tour players must have been either a World Number 1 during their competitive playing careers, a Grand Slam singles finalist, or a singles player in a victorious Davis Cup Team. They should have retired from the ATP Circuit and each event can also invite two players of their choice to be Wild Card entrants.
The draw for the tournament, conducted on Sunday at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, sees Roger Federer, playing his first tournament since last month’s Australian Open, up against Indian wildcard Somdev Devvarman in the first round. Federer, a four time champion here in the past, seems to have a relatively comfortable path through to the semifinals where he could come up against a two-time losing finalist here, 4th seed Mikhail Youzhny. Youzhny though has a tough opening round encounter against unseeded Frenchman Gilles Simon, who took Federer to five sets in Melbourne last month.
Federer’s conqueror and eventual champion at the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic, will also be playing his first tournament since his victory last month and will be looking to get off to a good start in his first-round match against the Frenchman Michael Llodra. There may be 20 places between them in the world rankings but in the two matches they have played against each other, the record stands at 1-1, with Llodra having won their most recent clash – the ATP World Masters 1000 in Paris at the end of last year. Should he survive his early tests, Djokovic is likely to run into 7th seeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the quarterfinals.
Czech Tomas Berdych, seeded three, reached the quarterfinals at Rotterdam two weeks ago but was forced to withdraw due to ‘flu-like symptoms’. Out of all the top seeds, Berdych seems to have the trickiest draw with a possible second-round meeting against the dangerous Russian, Nikolay Davydenko and a quarterfinal clash with Davis-Cup winning Serb and 6th seed Victor Troicki. Should Djokovic and Berdych come through the draw, an enticing encounter is on the cards with the two slated to meet in the semifinals.
Elsewhere in the draw, 5th seed Ivan Ljubicic will begin his campaign against the Ukranian Sergei Bubka, son of champion pole vaulter Sergey Bubka. Ljubicic will hope to emulate his semifinal appearance at Rotterdam two weeks ago, but could face a couple of tricky opponents on the way, with the unpredictable Frenchman, Richard Gasquet a possible second-round opponent followed by perhaps Mikhail Youzhny or Gilles Simon in the quarterfinals.
Tournament organizers awarded wildcards to local hope Omar Awadhy, Indian star Somdev Devvarman and the German veteran Michael Berrer. The tournament is expected to serve as an ideal warmup for the players before the Masters series events kick-off in Indian Wells and Miami next month.