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Djokovic And Federer Top Seeds At Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Dubai, UAE

ATP draw ceremony© Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsLeft to Right: Dubai Duty Free Hostess; Sinead El Sibai, Vice President Marketing Dubai Duty Free; Andreas Seppi; Mikhail Youzhny; Marcos Baghdatis; George Horan, President Dubai Duty Free; Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice- Chairman Dubai Duty Free; Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director; Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Vice President Tennis Emirates; Gerry Armstrong, ATP Supervisor; Dubai Duty Free Hostess.

Wild card Malek Jaziri’s dream came true on Saturday when he was drawn to play defending champion Roger Federer in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The 29-year old from Tunisia, ranked 130 in the world, will relish the opportunity to tackle the second-seeded and five-time champion and the player many dub as the greatest of all time before a packed centre court crowd.

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At the top of the draw which contains six of the world’s top players, three-time former champion Novak Djokovic will begin his campaign to take back his title when he faces fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki, an opponent who defeated the now world number one when they first met in 2007 but who has lost on all 12 occasions they have met since.

Third seed Tomas Berdych, like Federer, faces a wild card in the form of Rajeev Ram, but it is fourth seed Juan Martin Del Potro who might face the most difficult challenge in the opening round as he takes on charismatic Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. A semi-finalist in Dubai three years ago, Bagdahtis also reached the semi-finals last month in Brisbane.

Another crowd favourite, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, has proved he is in great form with a tremendous run in Marseilles immediately before his arrival in Dubai, but the number five seed will not take fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra lightly in their first round clash.

Janko Tipsarevic has already won a title this year after triumphing in Chennai, and the sixth seed will begin his quest for a second against the experienced Nikolay Davydenko, while seventh seed Andrea Seppi faces Paul-Henri Mathieu and number eight seed and former two-time Dubai finalist Mikhail Youzhny will play Blaz Kavcic.

“With so many of the world’s best players here we are assured of some tremendous matches right from the first day,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have won here in all but two of the last 10 years and they are favourites to reach the final again, but opponents such as Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and others are all capable to beating the top two. It will be fascinating to see who manages to emerge as the winner next Saturday.”

If the top four seeds do progress, the semi-finals will be between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro, and Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych.

“There is so much talent in this year’s field it would be naive to think that either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer are the only players capable of winning,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.

“While they are undoubtedly dominant, there are many other talented players in the field and anything could happen. What a fantastic tournament we have in front of us.”

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which continues until 2nd March, is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 

Tickets for the event are on sale from the Box Office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud which is open from 9am to 9pm daily. Grandstand ticket prices range from 50dhs for opening rounds to 450dhs for finals.

For further information about tickets, prices and the tournament phone the call centre on +971 4 4172415.

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