Top Spaniards to Woo
Tennis Fans in Dubai

DUBAI — Spanish tennis fans will have plenty to cheer about when the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships get under way later this month, with no fewer than five of the nation’s top players competing for their share of the $4 million prize money on offer at the Middle East’s premier tennis event.

Published: Tue 9 Feb 2010, 12:09 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:51 AM

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will join regulars Tommy Robredo and Feliciano Lopez in Dubai for the first time, with Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez also making her Dubai debut alongside the familiar Anabel Medina Garrigues.

Robredo has enjoyed mixed fortunes here in his previous five trips, losing to Rainer Schuettler in his debut match in 2002 and to Fabrice Santoro at the same stage in 2007.

However, he has twice been a semifinalist, the first time in 2003 when he beat world number seven Marat Safin and then Feliciano Lopez before falling to Jiri Novak.

Then, after going down to Roger Federer in 2004, he was back in the semifinals the following year, surrendering to Ivan Ljubicic.

Lopez has enjoyed even greater success, reaching the 2003 quarter-finals in his first year here and then the final in 2004, when he bowed to Roger Federer in three sets.

He suffered from tough draws in the next two years, falling to Andre Agassi in the second round in 2005 before meeting Tim Henman in his opening match in 2006.

When he next played in Dubai, in 2008, Lopez reached the final for the second time, overcoming top 10 opponents Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Nikolay Davydenko before finding himself on the wrong side of a three-set battle to Andy Roddick in the final.

Medina Garrigues is one of the world’s top doubles players, as she demonstrated here a year ago when she teamed-up with Francesca Schiavone to reach the semifinals before losing in a nail-biting match tiebreak to Maria Kirilenko and Agnieszka Radwanska.

She also did well in singles last year, beating 30th-ranked Alona Bondarenko to reach the third round before falling to defending champion Elena Dementieva.

Now Garcia-Lopez and Martinez Sanchez are preparing to test themselves against many of the best players in the world in a field of tennis names that is second to none.

Garcia-Lopez will tackle a draw that includes world number one and four-time Dubai champion Roger Federer, defending champion Novak Djokovic, Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray, 2008 Dubai winner Andy Roddick, US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro and Barclays ATP World Finals winner Nikolay Davydenko.

Play at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, which is held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, begins on Sunday, February 14, 2010 with the WTA Tour event and continues with the ATP tournament from Monday, February 22–27.

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