Sport | Tennis

Djokovic set for Federer showdown in Dubai

Australian Open champion to renew rivalry with title-holder

  • staff report
  • Published: 18:27 January 28, 2013
  • Gulf News

Dubai: The two best players in the world will be on collision course in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships when the juggernaut rolls into town once again next month.

Five-time champion Roger Federer will be seeking to defend his title against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who claimed three straight Dubai titles between 2009 and 2011 and on Sunday claimed his third consecutive Australian Open crown with victory over Andy Murray.

Djokovic was thrilled with his four-set victory in Melbourne, appreciating that it will set him up for further success not only in Dubai, but throughout the year. He said: “Winning it [the Australian Open] three times in a row, it’s incredible. It’s very thrilling. I’m full of joy right now. It’s going to give me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season, that’s for sure”.

But the question of who will emerge as the winner between the titanic two in Dubai will be the question on everyone’s lips during a spectacular week of tennis that features not only Djokovic and Federer, but also the talented trio of Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin Del Potro, all of whom have the potential to cause an upset.

“We can look forward to some outstanding tennis, not only from Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but also from many of the other top 20 players, who will be taking part in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman of Tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free. “Although they will be expected by many to reach the final, the tournament has produced many unexpected upsets in the past and no-one is certain of success.”

Tsonga has beaten Djokovic five times, and the enigmatic Frenchman has also stunned Federer three times, with one of his wins coming in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2011. Although he lost his recent five-set battle with Federer in Melbourne, the quality of his challenge underlined his potential as a Dubai champion.

Del Potro also poses a challenge, with wins over Federer in their last two clashes of 2012 and victory over Djokovic in their bronze-medal match at the London Olympics.

If the top two do reach their seeded place in the final, though, the outcome of their seismic showdown is sure to be a titanic tussle, with Federer holding a narrow 16 wins to 13 winning record over his rival. However, Djokovic claimed victory in three of their five clashes last year.

The ATP World Tour event takes place between February 25 and March 2 and follows the WTA tournament that features an incredible nine of the world’s top 10. Beginning on February 18, the greatest tennis show in the Middle East will feature Australian Open Champion and world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams,as well as former Grand Slam winners Petra Kvitova, Li Na, Ana Ivanovic and Samantha Stosur, and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The 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 Dh50 for opening rounds to Dh450 for finals, with season tickets also available.

For further information about tickets, prices and the tournament, visit http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com or phone the call centre on +971 4 4172415.

Gulf News
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