Dubai Duty Free Open: Time for duels in the desert
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We are approaching the last week of February and it’s time that we witnessed a few great hard court duels in the desert. The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships ATP 500 event marks the beginning of a hard court season featuring the Indian Wells-Miami masters series. While the talent pool at the Mexican event at Acapulco is being talked about a lot, the event at Dubai, just like in any other year, is loaded with stars too. Participating in the 25th edition of the tournament are 3 top 10 players and 7 top 20 players in all. Marquee players include the world no. 1 Sir Andy Murray, the Australian Open champion Roger Federer and his fearsome compatriot and 3-time slam champion Stan Wawrinka.
As a preparation for witnessing the Dubai Open again, let us recall some of its recent history.
Federer’s dominance at Dubai since 2003
Federer has a proud record at Dubai Open featuring 7 titles from 2003 to 2015. He has played memorable matches here against his fiercest rivals. Given that he has reasserted his excellence with the Australian Open title, you could actually say he is the favourite to win the tournament. Will anyone be able to stop him? Certainly, Stan Wawrinka can pull of an upset. So can the world number one Andy Murray who will be looking to find his range again.
The field this time around
Sir Andy Murray is still to capture his maiden title at Dubai Open. So, he will be looking at achieve just that as he desperately needs to win a title now. The only players in the players list who have ever won the event are Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer. Stan Wawrinka is the defending champion and will give his best to defend his title. After all, Roger Federer needed 5 sets to fend him off in the semis of Oz Open. Federer has a lot of placebo concerning Dubai. He has won 7 titles here and has had beaten both Murray and Wawrinka here before. He should be in the rhythm to do a good run here.
Young players on the radar will be Lucas Pouille and Daniil Medvedev. They have given people quite some hope concerning their prospect and it bears watching if any of them could give us a surprise run.
The only Emirati (or Asian) in the players list is 35 year old wildcard holder Omar Alawadhi of the UAE who will make his 13th appearance at the event. He has never won a match in the main draw of the event but won’t stop the crowd from cheering him on for achieving that.
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Brought to you by Shivashish Sarkar, blogger at the Continental Grip.
Featuring articles on professional tennis. These articles are of various types namely, trend analyses, predictions and commentaries.