Dubai has once again attracted the cream of the crop of ATP players with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych all in the draw for the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Championships. The draw is normally quite top-heavy in Dubai, but there is a lot more depth this year with all eight seeds in the top 20 and plenty of attractive first round match-ups. Djokovic is the top seed and opens against Vasek Pospisil. This will be Djokovic’s first appearance since winning the Australian Open. Pospisil has had his moments on tour, but he his start to 2015 has been a little underwhelming. His best win of the year so far came in Rotterdam where he beat the world number 22, Philipp Kohlschreiber. He has yet to make a quarter-final at any of the four tournaments he has played. Djokovic is seeded to meet Feliciano Lopez in the quarter-finals.
Tomas Berdych is the highest seed in the second quarter and will play Jeremy Chardy in the first round. Berdych and Chardy have played twice before with Berdych winning both previous matches in Munich (6-1 5-7 6-2, 2009) and Dubai (6-2 6-3, 2011). Berdych has been the nearly man of 2015 so far; he has been extremely consistent in dispatching players ranked below him. Despite a a superb win over Rafael Nadal at Melbourne, losses to David Ferrer (Doha final), Andy Murray (Australian Open semi-final) and Stan Wawrinka (Rotterdam final) have characterised his year so far. Berdych is seeded to meet Ernests Gulbis in the quarter-finals. The Latvian world number 13 is having a rough start to the year and has lost all four matches he has played in 2015. He opens against Denis Istomin, who hasn’t been great this year either with just one completed victory in Montpellier (2-6 W-L record).
The bottom half features by far the more interesting match-ups. In the pick of the first rounders, Andy Murray takes on Gilles Muller. Murray and Muller both reached the quarter-finals in their last tournament in Rotterdam. While Murray was disappointing in a straight sets loss to Gilles Simon, Muller shone with back-to-back top 20 wins over David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov. It took the eventual champion, Stan Wawrinka to knock him out in two tight sets. Muller was playing Challenger events at this time last year. After winning five tournaments in 2014, he climbed high enouh up the rankings to qualify for ATP main draws. The confidence attained from winning 62(!) matches in 2015 has been there for all to see as he currently sits pretty at his highest ever ranking of 34 in the world.
Murray is seeded to meet David Goffin in the quarter-finals. Goffin started the year with a semi-final appearance in Chennai, but has failed to win back-to-back matches since then. In Marseille last week he was forced to retire from his second round match against Dominic Thiem with a rib injury. It wasn’t thought to be a serious injury, which needed a couple of days rest. Still, i’m not quite sure whether he will be fully 100% for Dubai. Furthermore, he has drawn Marcos Baghdatis in the first round, who defeated him at the Australian Open last month. Also worth a mention is the 27-year-old Irish player, James McGee, who has been awarded a wildcard into the main draw and will play Joao Sousa in the first round.
The final quarter of the draw features Roger Federer. In his first tournament since a surprising loss in the third round of the Australian Open to Andreas Seppi, Federer returns against Mikhail Youzhny in the first round. Federer has a 15-0 head-to-head lead over Youzhny and shouldn’t be troubled by this match-up. He would play a Spaniard in the second round, either Fernando Verdasco or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. GGL has played some great tennis this year and would be a handful in the second round if he can find some of the form he displayed in Rotterdam where he played a fine first set against Stan Wawrinka before falling in three sets.
The other seed in this section is Roberto Bautista Agut, who opens against Dominic Thiem. The pair played this week in the quarter-finals of Marseille with Bautista Agut winning in two tight sets, 7-6(7) 6-3. There’s a chance that if Federer makes the last eight, he could play Seppi again. Since Australia, Seppi reached his seventh ATP final in Zagreb. He has a tough opener though against Richard Gasquet, who won Montpellier in his last outing on the tour.
1st Round Predictions: Djokovic d. Pospisil in 2 sets, Berdych d. Chardy in 2 sets, Gulbis d. Istomin in 2 tight sets, Baghdatis d. Goffin in 3 sets, Murray d. Muller in 2 very tight sets, Bautista Agut d. Thiem in 2 sets, Gasquet d. Seppi in 3 sets, Garcia-Lopez d. Verdasco in 3 sets and Federer d. Youzhny in 2 sets
Quarter-Final Predictions: Djokovic v Lopez, Berdych v Gulbis, Baghdatis v Murray and Gasquet v Federer
Final Prediction: Djokovic d. Federer
7 thoughts on “ATP Dubai 2015: Preview and Predictions”
I’m going for Djokovic, but the speed of the court does slightly favour Federer.
I actually really hope Goffin can run deep this time. I really like his games.
Yeah, it’s a shame to see him struggling so far this year. 😦
Hope Thomas can finally win something ,if not his career is over.
He’s reached two finals and the semi’ s of a Grand Slam, I’d hardly say his career is over.
Like I said, if he doesn’t win that’s it for him. He is 29 years old and hasn’t won a slam yet or beat the big 4 on big moments. Making Quarters and semis in a Grand Slams doesn’t count in the history books. And at his age only winning 9 titles isn’t impressive .
The odds are in Fed favor to win this title. Novak isn’t playing great . Andy has easy path to semifinals but he should of when to Acapulco .