Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsRoger FedererTennis Predictions

Dubai Draw: Federer Faces Jaziri in 1st Round

Hey all, we're finally edging closer to seeing Federer back in action again as the draw for the 2013 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships came out today with wild card Malek Jaziri getting a dream draw against Roger in the first round.

There's quite a few big names in the draw with Djokovic, Berdych, Del Potro and Tsonga all turning up to play at the Dubai Tennis Stadium. The only noticeable absentees are last years losing finalist Andy Murray who's probably trying to stay fresh for the American Hard Court tournaments and David Ferrer who I'm guessing will be playing in Acapulco instead.

Anyway, over to Federer's draw which is pretty much as I expected – a nice starter match and then a potentially tough Semi Final and Final should he make it. For some reason a lot of Fed fans seem to moan whatever happens in the draw these days but honestly there is no such thing as a tough draw in an ATP Masters 500 tournament, they're always going to be similar to the one Roger got today, it's only a week long tournament that's over before you know it. No way you can get a complete cake walk to the final in them.

In terms of Federer's project opponents they are as follows:

  • 1st Round: Malek Jaziri
  • 2nd Round: Albert Montanes/ Marcel Granollers
  • Quarter Final: Tipsarevic/Tomic
  • Semi Final: Berdych/ Tsonga
  • Final: Djokovic

Obviously draws never go as expected, after all who thought Tsonga would lose in the 1st Round in Rotterdam and then Roger would clown up against Benneteau? Nobody that's for sure.

Can Federer Defend His Title?

Federer 72nd Title in Dubai 2012

Pfft, I'd like to give an unequivocal yes but honestly I have no idea. After crashing to Benneteau in Rotterdam it's quite hard to predict – was it a bad day? Has he got a bad back? Or both? I guess I'll have more of an idea after he's played his first round match against the Tunisian Wild Card.

One thing that doesn't work in his favour is that he probably hasn't practised once since his loss to Benneteau. After leaving Rotterdam he went straight over to South Africa to do some work his foundation so I doubt he's even picked a racket. He arrived in Dubai today I believe so he will have to make the most of it before his first match on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Luckily his first 2 matches aren't against the toughest opponents so he should be able to play himself into form if he's playing without any form of niggling injury.

Another positive is that he's joined by his family after they weren't in Rotterdam, in an interview in South Africa this week he said:

At (the) Rotterdam (tournament last week) I was by myself, and I didn't feel the same. Maybe that's one of the reasons I didn't play well, who knows? I miss them much.

So the answer is really that we'll find out after he's stepped on court for the first time.

Elsewhere in the Draw

As I said above there's some big names in the draw and Djokovic is probably favourite for the title, his draw is very comfortable and he even gets his whipping boy Viktor Troichoke in the first round:

  • Round 1: Troicki
  • Round 2: Goffin/ Bautista Agut
  • Quarter Final: Seppi/ Lukas Rosol
  • Semi Final: Del Potro/Youzhny
  • Final: Federer

Both Berdych and Tsonga are in Roger's half but are scheduled to meet in the Quarter Final. That could be an interesting match if it happens and both guys are capable of beating Roger on a fast outdoor hard court so if he makes it to the Semi Final's he will have to be sharp.

Del Potro is really the only danger to Djokovic in the other half of the draw and after winning Rotterdam I thought he'd be on a hot streak but he somehow managed to lose to Simon in Marseille in straight sets. Almost as bad as Roger losing to Benneteau that one. It's actually even more annoying because it just shows the Rotterdam title was there for the taking really had Fed managed to serve better. So Del Potro is tough to predict, he could probably lose to Baghdatis in the first round.

In terms of upsets I'd pick Davydenko to beat Tipsarevic and then for him to also beat Tomic in the second round. He'd then of course play Federer so it could be interesting.

If you want to see the full draw it's available here:

I'm just hoping Roger plays well and doesn't come up with a performance like he did against Benneteau. If the back was a problem then it will be interesting to see if he's recovered and whether or not the Dubai temperatures make it more manageable for him. I'll be back with a match report after he takes on Jaziri; they've never played before but Jaziri is 130 in the world and has never been past the 2nd round of a Grand Slam so I predict 6-2 6-3.

Over to you guys, is Roger winning his first title of the year here?


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Yup, you were the quickest outta the blocks Alvi!

      I hope so too, gonna be interesting. I think it will be tough considering how Rotterdam finished for him but could come out and play unbelievable so hard to know!


  1. The Dubai court is amongst the fastest on tour and i see him getting to the final especially if he faces Tsonga in the semis(considering Tsonga only seems to be playing his best tennis against federer in the slams).If he faces Berdych the match could be tricky.It all boils down to the serve. Federer had an average 1st serve % of 60 and won an astounding 83% points average on first serve at Cincinnati and no one was able to touch him. So if he serves well i see him taking this title.But if he dosent win this title the possibility of his title drought continuing till Halle is very real so i really hope he wins this one since a win here will hold him in good stead for IW.Allez!

    1. Hey Arun,

      Yeah Dubai courts are cool, played really quick last year against Murray in the final.

      I agree too, all about the serve. When his serve fails he is like a lost boy out there. Needs that to fire so he can back it up with the forehand.


      1. Yes, looks like pretty fast this year as well. I watched some of the women’s matches last week and the court seems to be playing no slower than last year. All we can say is “COME ON FED!”

  2. Well as long as he doesn’t lose to Montanes in the second round it’s fine by me… Seriously, I see him making at least the semis. I cannot predict beyond that point before I see how he’s playing…


    1. Haha, well they say lightening doesn’t strike twice so surely he should dispose of Montanes if they play 😉

      I hope he can make semi’s too. Gotta get the wheels in motion for 2013 really after a good start in Aus. I know he’s only played 1 tournament since but with the poor end to last year and then Rotterdam it feels like it has stalled a little.


      1. Lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice, but Dubai is different than Rotterdam 🙂

  3. It would be a total shocker if Roger does not make it to semis … But Berdych will be hard to beat . Anyway with Fed you never know

  4. Decent draw for Fed, only thing to worry right now is lack of practice since he has commitments on his RF Foundation. Hope for at least semis here with fingers and toes crossed.

    1. Hey Dippy,

      Yeah standard type draw I think. I agree on the practice front, but then again maybe the rest and heat in South Africa aided his back if it was injured?

      Guess we will find out! Allez.

  5. Hi all… Looking at the draw Mr. Djoker has got his best mate Trocki. So it will b like a practice and warm up match for him. All there previous matches have been soo dubious!!
    Federer must defo play better. I was reading an article from the recent Oz open where John McEnroe was saying that Fed cant handle the heat. What a joke,in fact Fed plays better in the heat and also helps his bad back.
    Surely Fed will have something to prove since his shock loss to Benneteau. Come on Roger u can do it!!!!

    1. Hey man,

      Yeah TroiCHOKE in the first round is like a complete gift.

      McEnroe talks utter rubbish, Roger trains in Dubai every year where the heat is unrivaled. He has no idea, always quick to jump on Fed anyway when he gets a chance of a cheap shot. Just sides with flavour of the week or whoever is playing the best right now.


  6. What a fanstastic picture at the top ur post. I suffer from vertigo but its still an awe inspiring view of them playing on top burj dubai. I think next time they should go in boeing 777 and play when they r floating near space!!

  7. he can’t play first on wednesday, as Dubai final is on saturday every year, then the first round will all be played on monday and tuesday.

    1. Hey Duong,

      Good point didn’t realise about the final being on a Saturday but now you mention it I remember watching Fed vs Mugray last year on a Saturday afternoon.

      Guessing he will play Monday maybe then since he’s top half of the draw?


      1. Fed is in fact playing his first match on Monday, 7:00 pm local time. Jonathan, have you gone through Fed’s recent comments on retaining back no. 1 position? Here is the link to that story:

        Seems he is real motivated; he also gave a hint that if he does not have enough matches under his belt his “scheduled can be changed”. Do you think Miami is on the cards?

      2. Jiten, I really like what Roger has said. It means we will see him play for another couple of years, at least. We just need to get used to some unexpected losses. Unless he conjures a couple of slams this year, and at least repeats his WTF performance, he might not return to No.1. In fact, his No.2 ranking could be under massive threat sooner than you think.

      3. Hey Jiten,

        Yeah I saw a similar article on the BBC, interesting. I think he’s been dimplomatic though, he’d have to play unreal from now till November to take back Number 1. Not impossible but unlikely.

        Can’t see him playing Miami…

  8. Federer loves the quick Dubai courts so I think he’ll do well. He should make the SF without any trouble and then getting by Berdych or Tsonga will be tough but doable.

    1. Yeah Berdych and Tsonga both coming good in Marseille right now. They have matches under their belts heading into Dubai. Roger has both little court time and little practice. Gonna have to find his form pretty quickly…

  9. Hmmmm hard to weigh up his chances considering his back and lack of practice now. I agree there’s no such thing as a tough draw in 500s but I definitely favour Djokovic taking the title as his path is a bit more favourable. I don’t trust Delpo’s consistency whatsoever.

    Until we see Roger play, no point predicting what’s going to happen in this tournament. The trip to South Africa makes me think that Fed isn’t too concerned about Dubai and I have a feeling he doesn’t really care what happens here but wants to use it as a tune up for Indian Wells.

    We’ll see but, fast courts and warmer temps all are beneficial to his game so hopefully he ends his mini title drought here and can take momentum to IW. I expect at least him making the semis though. However, best of three set with an out of form Federer could give some chance to Davydenko or even Tomic?

    Oh well who really knows. First round is all that matters. Allez GOAT.

    1. Hey Alysha,

      Yeah I figure Djoker is the favourite. Del Joketro has no consistency. Conspiracy theory on the forums that he tanked Marseille to perform better in Dubai so who knows.

      I doubt Tomug makes Quarters but we’ll see.

      Been a while since we had JesusFed on court. Allez!


  10. Olá Jonathan!

    One more time Djoko is having a dream draw! To hell with that! Anyway, Roger can do anything he wants (for me this is the greatest true in the world) and I really hope his motivation is on!
    Another great Breaking News!
    Vamos, GOAT! I hate this trophy, but I want it anyway.

    1. Olá!

      Yeah Troicki is a walk over that’s for sure. I guess we can’t complain with Jaziri though, kind of a dream tie for both Roger and him.

      Haha on the trophy, not my favourite but better than the Paris Masters one he won in 2011!


      1. Jaziri has been injured from what I hear and this will be his first match back. Poor guy, running into a looking to prove a point Federer.

      2. He looked out of shape to me. Was done by the third set. He played tactically smart though – just hit the casing off everything and step in when you have a chance!

  11. It is hard to say how he is going to do just going in now. I wonder, he pared his schedule back to train more as he said last year he did not have many training blocks and so far he has not trained, going into tournaments using the first rounds as training? Anyway, I hope he goes in with high motivation and his spot on serve. It is just always such a joy to just watch him play. A win here will build confidence and he does love Dubai. Allez GOAT!

    1. Hey Will,

      Yeah agreed I have no idea what to expect. Maybe his back was a problem, seems to be resting more than anything these past few weeks.

      All boils down to the serve, if he can dominate with that then he can definitely beat anyone. Allez!


  12. Hopefully Roger can win his 6th Dubai title! I actually think Berdych and Tsonga won’t be able to carry their decent form into Dubai somehow. Quarterfinal against Tipsarevic or Tomic could be entertaining to watch.

    1. Hey Conal,

      What makes you think Berdshit and Clownga won’t carry their form? I think they are dangerous on these type of courts. I’d like to see Roger beat Berdych, about time he got one over on him after US Open…


  13. I’ve never followed Dubai. I had no idea has won five time here. In fact I’ve only started following the Masters 500 and 1000’s ever since I’ve joined Jonathan blog. So, keep up the good work! I’m not going to watch, it will probably throw my sleep schedule way off but I’ll be reading all posts.

    I think Roger’s biggest hurdle will be Djokovic. Maybe he isn’t trying too hard to win Dubai, as mentioned in the write up, but he does need a great performance here if he intends to win Indian Wells again.

    1. Part timer huh? lol

      I don’t think the time will be that bad Sid? I figure most matches will be on early AM your time so like 6 am and if he plays night matches even later.

      You’re 10 hours behind.

      1. Yeah, part time tennis watcher 🙂 But I make it up by watching a lot of previous Roger matches. Never can get too much of them.

        Hopefully, most Roger games will be 7 pm or later, so 9 am my time. Will probably watch the game against Malek Al Tennis Al Jaziri.

  14. Tsonga didn’t exactly cruise in Marseille. Sved 5 match points v Tomic who is clearly fitter and more determined this yr! See Tomic as Federers first major test. Knowing Tsonga he cld lose first round if he wins Marseille, and then flies out with virtually no rest! Delpo continues to frustrate, such a poor match v Simon. Shows his stamina can still be questioned!
    Hoping Fed makes Semis, and then ups his game, and confidence kicks in!

  15. I think Roger will play great in Dubai and at least making it to the final. I hope the warmer weather helps him if he is indeed having back problems. Personally, I would like to see Roger give Birdshit a proper beat down. Looking forward to an entertaining tournament.

  16. Hey… Am glad Tsonga has beat birdsh#t (berdych) in atp250 in france. I absolutely hate berdcrap cos he always gives Fed a hard time and then loses the next round. Hes another player like Murray with no personality. No class at all.
    Ps. I wanted to ask a question to u thats got nothing to do with tennis, Jonathan if its Ok.
    Is that ur picture of urself Jonathan cos i keep thinking u look like the main singer from Plan B. U look nearly exactly like him. Or probably its me and my phone with crappy picture quality. Anyway i hope i didnt offend cos its was meant as a compliment. Hang on a minute u r him thats why u r getting all these tickets and jetsetting all over the world. Ha ha lol 🙂

    1. Hey man,

      Yeah I watched it, good win for Tsonga. Berdych owned him in the H2H 4-1. But he lost it mentally in the third set. Was moaning about stupid stuff to the Umpire. I think Tsgona does well in Dubai now too.

      That’s me in the picture yeah. There’s another on my Google+ page which is linked in the author bio. Not sure you will stick with the Plan B lookalike when you see that!


      1. Hi man.. I was checkin on google+ i think the smaller the pic the more u look like plan B. Its me am squint and a little blind!!!
        Flippin heck it says u live near Bank st bradford, thats about 20mins from where i live. What a small world!!!!!
        Anyway i think Feds playing tommorow 3.00pm GMT but i dont know what that is in Dubai timing wise. Hopefully Fed has easy starter then after that he needs to play good/great to defend his title. Come on Fed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Hi everyone, just heard that Roger is taking a 2 month break after Indian wells. I think the time has come to cut him some slack on our expectations and just enjoy watching him whenever he plays. Lets include a few other players in this blog. Kei nishikori just won in Memphis and is having a great year so far. Dimitrov(baby fed )is also doing well. I look forward to watching him. It’s probably a good time to expand the blog to include other interesting topics
    in addition to fed. What do you think Jonathan ?

    1. Hi Tim… Even though Federer will b playing less tourny and perhaps the inevatable of him losing one or two more matches now at the later of his career. There is no one id rather watch than Federer even in his twilight. The shots,the tecnique,the rallies that Federer produces is still now breathtaking. Yes u have the Djokers/the Nadals and Murrays but really u would rather watch them than Federer. I would therefore watch match repeats than the
      running men each hitting the ball for 5/6 hours of repetitive Tennis. I think we should be gratefull that Federer is still playing and enjoy the GOAT. So i really appreciate Jonathan going through alot to do these post for the benefit of other true Federer fans. I am not ready to give up on Federer and Fed fans will agree too. Until another Federer comes along which i really doubt we should all still support him now. More than before. So i say please keep doing ur exellent post on Fed Jonathan. And Tim my friend i think u r not a true Federer fan. Sorry!!!

    2. Guys, please stop referring to Dimitrov as baby Fed. He is not. He is simply an impostor. There is no baby Fed. There is Fed. Then there is not Fed 🙂

      Yes, he is a very good player. No doubt. And will probably win some big wins in the future. But, Dimitrov is a disgrace to Federer.

    3. Hey Tim,

      Well his schedule got released in January so he’s always planned to take a 2 month break so no real surprise I don’t think. Just a couple of sensationalised headlines and suddenly it’s the shock of the century. I think it’s a smart move, he can’t play as much as he did last year it was hectic all the way through and he got burnt out.

      I’ll think about what do with the blog closer to the time when Roger retires. Whether I generalise it, follow another player or close it down in loving memory 😛 who knows. I still think Fed has plenty to offer this season and even though 2014 could be his last season I am going to follow him to the end. Well, unless he starts losing in the first round of Challengers lol.

  18. Ps. In these blogs there r mentions of other players but this site is a specifically about Fed. So i think Tim u should read and post about other players on other sites. Again Sorry if i have offended. That is why people thank Jonathan for his hard work.

  19. Taking Miami off is not a bad thing at all considering he doesn’t have many points to defend. MTF is making such a big deal about Fed taking it off but it’s really not a big deal. It will give him more time to practice and give him added rest for the stretch from Madrid to Wimbledon.

    1. I’m beginning to have serious doubts about Roger’s strategy. He will get plenty of rest, and plenty of rust too, which comes from being not in the competitive mix continuously. Even amateurs like you and I know what taking some time off does. The problem is very likely magnified at professional levels.

      But, I could be wrong.

      I still believe Roger might pay a huge price for all the rest he is taking. It could well be that he wants to take 2013 easy and make another huge [final] push in 2014? I don’t know, just my thoughts.

      Nadal is going to make a tremendous push this year, that I’m sure of. Maybe Roger senses 2013 would be too tough for him to match up with these young guys? And he just wants them to cool down a bit?

      1. I don’t think there will be that much rust – I’m sure he’ll be doing some extensive training and will play plenty of practice matches. Plus, he didn’t play any matches for almost a month between the SA tour and the AO and he didn’t have any rust in that tournament.

        He had a month off last year between his Miami loss and Madrid and this break won’t be that much longer. It will take him a match to get back into the swing of things and then I’m sure he’ll be fine.

      2. Kyle,

        I hope you’re right. But I have this strangest of feeling that 2013 ain’t Roger’s year. We still have an in form Cvacovic, Murray getting better and better, and Dopal back with nothing on his mind but blood. I’ll be happy if Roger can hang on to No.2.

        As I mentioned earlier, he might be taking a sub par year by staying in touch with Djoker for a 2014 assault. The great man knows best what he is up to though. We will know after the WTF if I was wrong. Can’t wait to find out


  20. I’m not offended guys. I love Federer, and always will, but what are you going to talk about for 2 months of his vacation? I agree that I would rather watch reruns of matches that Fed plays than watch new ones of the others, but I do think that we need to keep an open mind about some of the other players. Here is my question to all of you. After Fed who are the 15 men and /or women present or past that you enjoy watching? Here is my list: 1. Rod Laver 2. Tommy Hass 3. gregor Dimitrov 4. Evonne Goolagong 5. Steffie graf 6. Kim Cjlisters 7. justine Henin 8. Stephan Edberg 9. Pete Samprass 10. Bjorn Borg 11. Richard Gasguet 12. Illie Nastase 13. John Mcenroe 14. Jimmy conners 15. Tom Okker I realize that I’m probably older than all of you, but there are some stylish great players in the past and hopefully in the future like Dimitrov. What are you going to do in a few more years Serajul? There is room in tennis for other people, and other view points.

    1. Hi Tim i too grew up watching the Tennis greats eg Borg,Mac,Connors,Nastasie and then the Beckers, Edbergs,Lendls and Samprases. The only player i havent seen properly is Laver( only you tube clips). Federers compleately outshines the rest. I am still waiting for the next player to make an impact.
      I think u should of mentioned in ur first post of Feds two months absence and what to write for then. Therefore i apologize for goin on one about Fed etc etc. I prob misread ur post. Up until now their r a couple of players that i like ie Del potro and Raonic. The rest dont. All the best Serajul.

    2. Hi… Dimitrov is no way baby fed. Plus he has a ugly style of play. No comparison at all. His footwork needs to improve with also allot of his other shots.

    3. I’ll find something to blog about during the 2 months Tim don’t worry – what Roger has been eating for tea during his time off etc haha.

      Often during breaks I get time to cover wider topics so I’ll probably do that – recently I covered court speed, and tennis rackets – which I don’t think you will have seen.

      As for the players I enjoy / enjoyed watching: Henman, Kraijeck, Sampras, Graf, Rafter & Agassi were probably my favourites in the 90’s. (I started watching about 95).

      1. I have some suggestions (not that you need any): –

        1 – Write about some retro matches, particularly Wimbledon 2001 vs Pete. Relive his past glories, and maybe some gut wrenching losses too
        2 – Talk about his humanitarian efforts
        3 – A write up of his years leading up to turning pro
        4 – A special article about his beloved and departed coach, Peter Carter
        5 – Something about Roger’s diet and fitness regimen
        6 – Restart the forehand threat, but it will be too technical and nobody would like it

        That’s just my wish list. We are asking you a lot, Jonathan, but we know you can do it 🙂

  21. Present players I like/like watching:

    Wawrinka, Almagro, Delpo, Tsonga, Berdych, Nishikori, Raonic, Monfils, Simon (yes, I know), Haas, Llodra, Nieminen, Djokovic (when not playing Murray or Nadal), Anderson, Lu, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Hewitt, Dimitrov, Baghdatis, Dolgopolov……

    1. Agree with most but defo not Djoker,Murray and Nadal. With Nadal am 50/50 with him cos hes had some good matches with Fed apart from the clay ones.

  22. Also, very interesting to read that he thinks he can get back to #1. It would be very hard just as it was last year, but honestly, I never doubt Roger any more because it’s bitten me in the rear end too many times. If he’s motivated and healthy, there is no reason why he can’t do it. Like he said, it’s not all up to him as he would need some help from Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal to get back there.

    It’s probably more likely he ends up at #4 than #1 by the end of the year with Murray being in his prime and Rafa having nothing to defend after Wimbledon. But you just never know, and that’s sports. Nobody thought he could do it last year and then he won 9 titles in 10 months. Who knows, maybe after this refreshment in South Africa he’ll return invigorated and put together another great run. Definitely wouldn’t put it out of the question.

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