Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic land in the same half

Top Stories

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic land in the same half

With the top two seeds in the tournament — Djokovic (1) and Juan Martin del Potro (2) — placed at opposite ends of the 32-strong field, lots were then drawn to determine were the third and fourth-ranked players would go.

By Alex Leach (alex@khaleejtimes.com)

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 23 Feb 2014, 12:25 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:10 PM

Radek Stepanek, Salah Tahlak, Dmitry Tursunov, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Colm McLoughlin, Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Gerry Armstrong and Sinead el Sibai during the ceremony. — Supplied photo

Radek Stepanek, Salah Tahlak, Dmitry Tursunov, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Colm McLoughlin, Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Gerry Armstrong and Sinead el Sibai during the ceremony. — Supplied photo

Roger Federer could block reigning champion Novak Djokovic’s path to a fifth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final appearance in six years after the duo were drawn in the same half of Saturday’s main draw.

With the top two seeds in the tournament — Djokovic (1) and Juan Martin del Potro (2) — placed at opposite ends of the 32-strong field, lots were then drawn to determine were the third and fourth-ranked players would go.

Federer (4) landed in Djokovic’s half to dash hopes of a ‘dream final’ here in the emirate, leaving Tomas Berdych (3) to fill the remaining berth in Del Potro’s sector.

Djokovic has Mikhail Youzhny (6) for seeded company in his quarter of the draw, whereas Del Potro, Berdych and Federer might face Philipp Kohlschreiber (7), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (5) and Dmitry Tursunov (8) further down the line respectively.

Of more immediate concern for the seeded contingent is naturally their first-round opponents and Djokovic has been pitted against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin from the get-go, while Federer encounters Benjamin Becker, of Germany.

Del Potro faces Indian wildcard Somdev Devvarman initially, but Berdych will have to wait to find out the identity of his adversary over the net as an as-yet-unknown qualifier slotted in alongside his name. Two other seeds, Tursunov and Kohlschreiber, both attended yesterday’s ceremony and they were subsequently ‘rewarded’ for their presence with qualifying opponents in round one – an outcome that also occurred for Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

“The field is always tough, so — if I had to ask anything of the organisers — it would be just to give me an easy draw!” Tursunov quipped just prior to the proceedings. “Since I’m going to be involved in it, I’ve decided to get into this draw-making ceremony simply so that I can get myself a better draw.”

On a more serious note, he added: “Last year, I obviously had quite a bit of health issues and I started 2014 ranked very low; I think around 130th or so (133rd).

“I’ve had some good results, especially here last year where I won two rounds after getting the wildcard, so I’m very thankfully to the tournament and I owe it to the tournament as well to come here and perform to the best of my ability because you guys have helped me so such so far.” Radek Stepanek sat alongside Kohlschreiber and Tursunov as the names materialised and he now must tackle American veteran Michael Russell, with the winner potentially tackling five-time DDFTC winner Roger Federer in the second round.

“When you look at the draw and see the players who are here – you have five of the top 10 guys here, so you cannot expect that you’re going to be playing easy matches in the first two rounds,” the Czech, 35, said.


More news from