The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships draw for 2015 just landed and the surprising news accompanying it is that Fed has taken a wildcard into the doubles event.
He'll play with fellow Swiss Michael Lammer whilst Djokovic will team up with Laszlo Djere; clearly a good coup by the tournament organisers here that will result in more ticket sales and larger crowds for doubles matches throughout the week.
In terms of the main even Roger will be looking to win a 7th Dubai title and successfully defend the title he won last year. I think Dubai was probably his best win last year, beating Djokovic and then Berdych in the final was hugely impressive so this year it will be difficult to top that.
As is always the case after an extended break and the last match being a tough loss we're not sure what to expect from the GOAT, all we know is he's been practising in Dubai for the last 2 weeks or so, enjoys the surface / playing condition at the Aviation Club and has a great record at the event. Surely that bodes well for a successful tournament.
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Youzhny
- Round 2: Verdaco / Garcia-Lopez
- Quarter Final: Bautista-Agut
- Semi Final: Murray
- Final: Djokovic
Thoughts on the Draw
First up is Mikhael Youzhny whom Roger holds an imperious record against. As if that wasn't bad enough for the Russian from what I saw of his game at the Australian Open he looks to have faded significantly compared to how he played 2/3 years ago. All very underpowered and sluggish. Luckily the court speed in Dubai will help him somewhat but hard to really see past a Fed straight sets victory.
Into round two and Roger is guaranteed to be facing a Spaniard; either Fiasco or Garcia Lopez. I think Garcia-Lopez will be the one to make it as he plays well on faster courts and is in a decent run of form winning the Zagreb Indoors a few weeks ago. Verdasco is of course an enigma and will perhaps be looking to put in a shift considering he's playing Dubai for the first time since 2008. He usually plays the South American clay court events so I'm not sure what's made him change.
The Quarters is seeded to be against Bautista-Agut who we know doesn't have the firepower to really do much damage when Fed is playing at a solid level. There's also a chance of a Seppi rematch from the Australian Open which would be an interesting one. I'd back Fed to restore parity should they meet.
Should Roger be still in the tournament come Saturday then his semi final seeded opposition is Murray. Murray should play well on this surface and he made the final in 2012 losing to Federer in straight sets but there are question marks over his form. After playing a great Australian Open final (barring the final) he fell to Simon in Rotterdam last week very tamely. Hard to say whether he performs here and Gilles Muller won't be a pushover in the first round as he is in good form.
As for the final then Djokovic looks likely to be the man standing at the other side of the net, his draw isn't overly tough and his stiffest test will probably be Berdych. Pospisil could post an early threat but will probably be too inconsistent to get the job done so it's all setup for a Djokerer final should things go to plan 🙂
No real predictions from me but I reckon Fed makes the semi finals quite comfortably and then we'll go from there. Hopefully doubles doesn't effect his recovery time for singles matches but I'm pretty sure he will lose early in that anyway.
What do you guys think?