Nole begins Dubai title defence against Llodra

Photo: AP

The draw has been made for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour 500 event that will be played from February 21-26 for $1,619,500 prize money.

Defending champion and world no.3 Novak Djokovic will be looking to continue his fantastic season-opening form. The 2008 and 2011 Australian Open winner from Serbia has claimed top honours in Dubai for the last two years and will be going for his third consecutive title.

Nole’s first round opponent will be world no.23 Frenchman Michael Llodra. Their H2H is 1-1.

Djokovic could meet either Feliciano Lopez or Yen-Hsun Lu in the second round.

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

Quarter-finals: Marcos Baghdatis (CYP,7).

Semi-finals : Tomas Berdych (CZE,3), Viktor Troicki (SRB,6).

Roger Federer (SUI,1), Mikhail Youzhny (RUS,4), Ivan Ljubicic (CRO,5), Ernests Gulbis (LAT)…are in the upper part of the draw, and Novak can’t meet them before the finals.

Nole beat Russian Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in last year’s final.

The winner of this year’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will earn $386,000 and 500 ATP points.

Nole and his brother Marko got wildcard for the doubles competition. They will face top seeds Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi (IND) in the opening round.

Here’s the singles main draw:

[1] Roger Federer vs [WC] Somdev Devvarmann
Marcel Granollers vs Dmitry Tursunov
Sergiy Stakhovsky vs [WC] Omar Awadhy
[WC] Michael Berrer vs [8] Ernests Gulbis

[4 ]Mikhail Youzhny vs Gilles Simon
[Q] Lukas Rosol vs [Q] Karol Beck
[Q] Grigor Dimitrov vs Richard Gasquet
[Q] Sergei Bubka vs [5] Ivan Ljubicic

[6] Viktor Troicki vs Philipp Kohlschreiber
Andreas Seppi vs Philipp Petzschner
Nikolay Davydenko vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
Jeremy Chardy vs [3] Tomas Berdych

[7] Marcos Baghdatis vs Andrey Golubev
Florian Mayer vs Jarkko Nieminen
Feliciano Lopez vs Lu Yen-Hsun
Michael Llodra vs [2] Novak Djokovic

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