The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, or ATP Dubai, is an ATP 500 Event. It takes place in Dubai on outdoor hardcourts, and has an excellent role-of-honour with the last 14 renewals being won by either Novak Djokovic (4), Roger Federer (7), Rafa Nadal, Stan Wawrinka or Andy Roddick.
However, Djokovic has chosen to miss the event this year, and Andy Murray (runner-up in 2012) is seeded number-one, with Wawrinka 2 and Federer 3.
The tournament sees Roger Federer returns to the courts for the first time since winning the 2017 Australian Open, and it’s no surprise that he’s chosen to return at a venue where the fast courts and best of 3-set format are ideal for him, a fact backed up by his 7 titles here: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
Federer is seeded to meet the improving Lucas Pouille in the quarter-finals and, though the pair have met just once before, the courts should be much more in favour of Federer. Hopefully, that will set-up an intriguing semi-final clash with Andy Murray who holds a 4-0 head-to-head advantage over likely quarter-final opponent Gilles Muller, including a 6-4 7-5 win over him in the 2015 renewal.
It will be interesting to see who starts favourite if Murray and Federer clash, especially as Federer won their last 5 meetings during 2014/15, leads 14-11 overall, and beat Murray in the 2012 final here in straight sets.
Fourth-seed Gael Monfils will be hopeful of making at least the semi-finals after seeing the draw, and he holds a 3-0 lead over sixth seed and likely quarter-final opponent Bautista-Agut, and he won all 3 matches in straight sets.
The final-quarter brings in reigning champion Stan Wawrinka, who will also be fancying his chances of making the semis as he’s won his last 6 matches against fifth seed Tomas Berdych, including their last matches played on hardcourts.
A Wawrinka/Monfils semi-final could be an interesting match with Wawrinka leading previous encounters 3-2, but the improved pair haven’t met on court since 2011 – though Wawrinka should be favourite as he’s usually up for these bigger events.
The crowd would love to see a Federer/Wawrinka Final, though it’s Federer who will be looking forward to it more as he holds a 19-3 lead over his fellow Swiss, including winning their last 3. The last one of those was in this year’s Australian Open, where it went to 5-sets, though Federer won the first two sets, which would be enough to claim victory in this best-of-3-sets format.
2017 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Tip
Roger Federer @ 7/2 (Stan James, Ladbrokes)