June 15, 2024

Dubai Duty-Free Tennis: Djokovic meets wildcard Musetti in the first match since the Australian Open saga

 Dubai Duty-Free Tennis: Djokovic meets wildcard Musetti in the first match since the Australian Open saga

Dubai, UAE – February 19 2022: Novak Djokovic could face a formidable challenge as he bids to win his sixth title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, after he was placed in the same quarter as 2018 champion and in-form Roberto Bautista Agut when the draw was made at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Stadium on Saturday.

ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship 2022 official draw held at Al Majlis, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium 19th February 2022, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Djokovic won the first of his three consecutive titles in 2009, was victorious again in 2013 and a finalist in 2015 and hoisted the winner’s trophy for the fifth time in 2020.

ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship 2022 official draw held at Al Majlis, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium 19th February 2022, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Among those present was tournament wild card Lorenzo Musetti, who saw his name drawn to face the world number one in the first round. Others in the same quarter of the draw as Djokovic include former US Open champion Marin Cilic and this week’s Doha semi-finalist Karen Khachanov, who Djokovic could face in the second round.

ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship 2022 official draw held at Al Majlis, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium 19th February 2022, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

“This is the 30th year of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, and I’m happy to say that during that time we’ve had more than 21 number one’s participate in the tournament” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “Novak Djokovic is among them, and we are delighted to welcome him to Dubai once again and wish him well as he attempts to win his 87th career title.”

ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship 2022 official draw held at Al Majlis, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium 19th February 2022, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Second seed Andrey Rublev could once again face the player who defeated him in the 2021 Dubai semi-finals before going on to win the title, Aslan Karatsev, as they are both in the bottom quarter of the draw. Rublev opens with a potentially difficult match against 2020 Dubai semi-finalist Daniel Evans, while Karatsev begins the defence of his title against Mackenzie McDonald. Also in the same quarter of the draw is tournament wild card Malek Jaziri, who in 2018 reached the semi-finals before falling to eventual champion Bautista Agut.

Felix Auger-Aliassime is seeded three and plays Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round, and he is the same quarter of the draw as sixth seed Denis Shapovalov, who starts against Marton Fucsovics. The fourth seed is Jannick Sinner, who along with Djokovic could struggle in a part of the draw that includes not only 2021 Dubai finalist Lloyd Harris and fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz, but former Dubai champion and world number one Andy Murray, who has also been granted a wild card by the tournament.

In the first round, Sinner will play Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Hurkacz tackles Alexander Bublik, Harris starts against Botic van de Zandschlup and Murray will play a qualifier.

“Once again the draw for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is strong with four of the top 10 and eight of the top 20 competing to become the 30th anniversary champion,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Even the top seeds face potentially difficult matches and it will be very interesting to see who emerges as the winner.”

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which continues until 26th February, 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.