The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has been attracting many of the world’s top players since it first began in 1993.
In 2001, it was upgraded to its current status as an ATP 500 Event, since when it has been won seven times by Roger Federer and four times by Novak Djokovic. Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray, and Stan Wawrinka have also got their name on the trophy.
The absence of that high-profile quintet last season allowed Roberto Bautista-Agut to win the event for the first time, but the Spaniard will have to overcome a better field this year if he is to retain his title. Roger Federer is back to try and win the tournament for an eighth time, but it’s Kei Nishikori that is the number one seed with Marin Cilic ranked three.
The tournament takes place on the outdoor hardcourts of the Aviation Club Tennis Centre in Dubai.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Betting Forecast
Roger Federer 15/8, Kei Nishikori 6/1, Daniil Medvedev 9/1, Marin Cilic 11/1, Milos Raonic 12/1
Kei Nishikori has jumped ahead of Roger Federer in the latest ATP rankings and that means he is the number one seed here. He has to be favourite to come through the first quarter, as he’s won his last three matches against Benoit Paire and also beat his most likely quarter-final opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-3 when they met last season on hardcourts in Tokyo.
Marin Cilic may not be at his sharpest here as this will be the first time he has played since the Australian Open. The Croatian has also been handed a nightmare opening match against the in-form Gael Monfils who leads him 3-0 in head-to-heads.
If Monfils does get past Cilic, a quarter-final against Daniil Medvedev looks the most likely outcome, and it’s the Russian who won their match in Sofia this season 6-2 6-4.
The third quarter looks another excellent opportunity for Roberto Bautista-Agut to progress to at least the semi-finals if the draw goes to form. He leads number-five seeds Karen Khachanov in head-to-heads. He’s also won his most recent matches against the likes of Berdych and Bedene, who have good records against Mikhail Kukushkin, who in turn holds a 3-0 leads over first-round opponent Borna Coric.
Roger Federer should win his first two matches with the minimum of fuss as he’s yet to lose a match to Kohlschreiber or Verdasco. He may then meet Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals, as Raonic has won all his previous games against Struff, Dzumhur and Fucsovics. The score stands 11-3 to Federer so far in their career meetings but, whilst Federer has also won the last two matches between them, Raonic did beat Federer twice in 2016 and looks to be regaining his best form.
Semi-Finals and Finals
A semi-final between Nishikori and Medvedev could go either way as, whilst the current score is 2-1 to Nishikori, they’ve already fought out a three-setter in Brisbane this season, whilst Medvedev was a convincing winner on hardcourts last season.
Should Bautista-Agut play either Federer or Raonic in the semi-finals, the Spaniard’s tournament is likely to come to an end as he trails Federer 8-0 and Raonic 5-0.
A win for Federer or Nishikori would come as no surprise but, with neither looking unbeatable, the value could be in backing both Medvedev and Raonic.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Outright Free Tips:
Daniil Medvedev (Each-Way) @ 10.00 Betfair SB, PaddyPower, SkyBet
Milos Raonic (Each-Way) @ 13.00 SkyBet, Betfred
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships First Round Match Bets
There also looks to be two great value match bets in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this week.
The first of those is Gael Monfils to beat Marin Cilic. The Frenchman deserves to be backed simply on the fact that he has beaten Cilic in all three of their previous meetings. But, the fact that Cilic hasn’t played since the first grand slam of the season and Monfils has been playing somewhere near his best of late, makes Monfils look even better value.
It could also be worth taking a chance on Mikhail Kukushkin to beat Borna Coric. Admittedly, Coric is the higher-rated player and has a decent record in the event, but it’s Kukushkin who has won all three of their previous matches. They were all on clay, so there is a chance that hardcourts will play more to Coric’s strengths, but Kukushkin doesn’t deserve to be the price that he is.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis First Round Free Tips:
Monfils to beat Cilic (Tues 26th 08:00 GMT) @ 2.00 Betfair SB, PaddyPower, Smarkets
Kukushkin to beat Coric (Tues 26th 08:00 GMT) @ 3.65 10Bet, SportPesa, RedZone, Smarkets