Dubai: Nole vs Istomin in Round 1

Nole protiv Istomina u 1. kolu Dubaija

Defending champion and world no.2 returns to action this week in Dubai where he won the ATP World Tour 500 outdoor event in 2009-11 and 2013. The tournament takes place at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre from February 24 to March 1.

Novak is a top seed. He will begin his 2014 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign against world no.43 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan (4-0) on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old Belgrade native could meet either Roberto Bautista Agut or a qualifier in the second round.

His possible opponents in the later stages of the tournament are:

Quarter-finals: Mikhail Youzhny (RUS,6)
Semi-finals: Roger Federer (SUI, 4), Dmitry Tursunov (RUS,8)
Final: Juan Martin del Potro (ARG,2), Tomas Berdych (CZE,3), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA,5)

Last year Novak beat Tomas Berdych in the final (7-5, 6-3).

Djokovic is making his eighth appearance (28-3 record), aiming for his fifth crown.

As a warm-up, Novak teamed up with Carlos Gomez-Herrera of Spain in the doubles competition. They lost to Tomasz Bednarek (POL) and Lukas Dlouhy (CZE) 5-7, 6-1, 5-10.

Photo: Getty Images; Video: ATPWorldTour

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