Nitto ATP Finals champion and World No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov leads the field at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in a draw that is guaranteed to produce just the second first-time winner of the event since 2009.
The prestigious Middle Eastern tournament, which has been voted Best ATP World Tour 500 event 11 times in its history, boasts a diverse and competitive field of players looking to add their name to the list of champions.
Dimitrov, playing his first event since the Australian Open in January, opens against Tunisian veteran and wild card Malek Jaziri. One-handed backhands are out in full force in Dimitrov’s quarter of the draw, which features fellow single-handed players Philipp Kohlschreiber and #NextGenATP Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Rounding out the top half of the draw are 2018 ASB Classic champion Roberto Bautista Agut and former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet, who are seeded No. 3 and No. 5 respectively this week in Dubai. Bautista Agut will play Florian Mayer in the first round, while Gasquet takes on Borna Coric.
The bottom half of the draw features an in-form Lucas Pouille as the tournament’s No. 2 seed. The Frenchman is coming off a title in Montpellier and a final last week in Marseille. He faces a tricky test in his opening match, where he’ll play former World No. 10 Ernests Gulbis in the first round.
Karen Khachanov, who was last week’s champion in Marseille, could set up a possible rematch of that final with Pouille should he navigate his way past Denis Istomin. Additionally, Ilya Ivashka, who was a surprise semi-finalist last week in Marseille, drew No. 8 seed Yuichi Sugita, and will look to continue his own run of form as he takes on the field in Dubai.
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Elsewhere in the draw, No. 4 seed Damir Dzumhur plays qualifier Yannick Maden, while Filip Krajinovic opens his Dubai campaign against Italian Thomas Fabbiano, with the winner to play either 2016 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis, who was awarded a wild card into the main draw, or fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki.
The doubles draw features Henri Kontinen and John Peers as the tournament’s No. 1 seeds, with Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau seeded second. The top seeds face Dzumhur and Troicki in the first round, while the Dutch-Romanian team of Tecau/Rojer open against Marcus Daniell and Dominic Inglot.