Djokovic takes on Arab hope Jaziri

Top Stories

djokovic, jaziri, dubai duty free, atp, tennis

Dubai - The draw for the men's tournament was held prior to the women's final on Saturday.

By James Jose

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

Published: Sat 22 Feb 2020, 2:22 PM

Last updated: Sat 22 Feb 2020, 8:15 PM

Top seed and world No.1 Novak Djokovic will go up against wildcard and Arab hope Malek Jaziri in the opening round of the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships that takes place this week.
The draw for the men's tournament was held prior to the women's final on Saturday and that saw the Serb, the freshly-minted Australian Open champion drawn against the 2018 semifinalist Jaziri. The 17-time Grand Slam winner, who won his eighth Australian Open in Melbourne last month, has won the Dubai title four times.
The 32-year-old, a five-time Wimbledon champion, was recently granted a 10-year UAE visa, following the approval by the UAE Cabinet, spearheaded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Jaziri, meanwhile, had screamed his way through to the last four after stunning world No.4 Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, Robin Haase in the second and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinal before being beaten by eventual champion Roberto Bautista Agut.
"I feel like I'm playing at home here, that run a couple years back and I've also made the quarters a couple of times, it's perfect to be back competing here," Jaziri said at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Saturday.
This year's Championships will miss legend Roger Federer after the Swiss maestro withdrew following a knee surgery.
The former world No.1, who has racked up an astonishing 20 Grand Slam titles over a stellar career, has won in Dubai a record eight times. The 38-year-old had won from 2003 to 2005. He then went on to win in 2007, 2012, 2014 and 2015 as well as last year. Last year's win was the 100th title of his career.
Federer is also set to miss tournaments in Indian Wells, Bogota, Miami and the clay-court season as well as the French Open. He is targeting the grass-court season as he eyes a comeback at Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, second seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas meets Spaniard Pablo Busta Carreno in the first round. World No.6 Tsitsipas was runner-up to Federer last year, beaten in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
World No.9 Gael Monfils, seeded third here, takes on Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, while fourth seed Fabio Fognini plays Briton Daniel Evans.
Fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, winner here in 2018, is up against Jan-Lennard Struff, while Russian sixth seed Andrey Rublev plays a qualifier.
Seventh seed Karen Khachanov takes on Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin, while eighth-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire meets Croatian Marin Cilic.
India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran has been handed a wildcard and plays a qualifier, while Egypt's Mohamed Safwat too has been given a wildcard.
Gunneswaran had qualified for last month's Australian Open, and had reached the final in China as well as three semifinals.
Safwat, meanwhile, became just the second Egyptian to win a Challenger title and the first since 1996, in Launceston, Australia.
The 29-year-old, who had gone 133 matches for over a decade without tasting much success, had also qualified for a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open. Safwat, who didn't drop a set in reaching the main draw in Melbourne, will face veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round, with the winner to play Djokovic or Jaziri.
The ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships takes place from Monday to 29.

More news from