By Alessandro Mastroluca
- Dan Evans will face Fabio Fognini in Dubai, where Novak Djokovic aims to extend his unbeaten run in 2020
- Rafael Nadal comes back in Acapulco, where Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie feature in the main draw
- Heather Watson and Katie Boulter play in the WTA Tour this week, in Acapulco
LONDON, UK – Plenty of big hitters make their return to the tour after the Australian Open, and there are five Brits in main draw action
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In a crowded week, the calendar features two ATP 500 events in Dubai and Acapulco and the first WTA Premier 5 tournament in Doha. Britwatchsports previews the main players and storylines.
ATP Dubai: Djokovic leads the field, Evans meets Fognini
Novak Djokovic aims to extend his 13-0 record this season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The World No.1 claimed the ATP 500 title four times in five years from 2009-11 and ’13. He will open his campaign against Tunisian Malek Jaziri.
Two other Top 10 players feature in the main draw. Stefanos Tsitsipas, who successfully defended his title in Marseille, returns to Dubai as does Gael Monfils, the two-time Rotterdam champion, drawn in Djokovic’s half of the draw.
The 2020 Dubai field additionally features the British No.1 Dan Evans, facing the Italian Fabio Fognini in the first round, and the Russian Andrey Rublev, bidding for for his third title of the season.
ATP & WTA Acapulco: Nadal, Watson and Boulter hope to shine
Rafael Nadal leads the charge at the 2020 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, the ATP 500 Tournament of the Year last season. The Spaniard won the title in 2005 and 2013, when it was played on clay before switching to hard courts. In his first match since the Australian Open quarter-final defeat, he will meet fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar before possibly facing gritty Australian Alex De Minaur.
Former champions Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev, the No.2 seed, are also back in action for the first time since the Australian Open. Two Brits chose to continue their season in Mexico. Cameron Norrie got a wild card. He will try to extend his unbeaten run against Adrian Mannarino, en route to a possible second-round clash against No.7 seed Grigor Dimitrov. Kyle Edmund hopes to repeat his stunning Davis Cup performance against Feliciano Lopez.
In the women’s tournament, Heather Watson, the No.7 seed, will play her first match in a month facing American big hitter Coco Vandeweghe, who owns a 2-8 record in her last ten matches on hard-court. Sloane Stephens, after a very disappointing season, will come back as the No.1 seed against local star Renata Zarazua.
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ATP Santiago: Garin the great local hope
Following a nightmarish streak of withdrawals, Christian Garin emerges as the No.1 seed at the brand new Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago. The homegrown Cordoba champion made history in 2013 in Vina del Mar, the last time Chile hosted a Tour-level tournament. Moving to the second round, he became the fifth player aged 16 years and under to win a tour-level match since 2000.
Also Casper Ruud, the second seed, will aim to clinch the second title of the 2020 ‘Golden Swing’ in South America. Last week in Buenos Aires he became the first player from Norway to win an ATP Tour title.
WTA Doha: Barty comes back to action
World No.1 Ashleigh Barty will debut against Laura Siegemund in the first Premier 5 tournament of the season, the Qatar Total Open. Six of the Top 10 are in action, although last year’s finalist Simona Halep withdrew ahead of the tournament.
The Australian takes the stage here in Doha for the first time in the main draw, celebrating her 25th consecutive week at No.1 (32nd week overall). Former champions Elise Mertens (2019), Petra Kvitova (2018), Karolina Pliskova (2017), Carla Suárez Navarro (2016) look to rekindle their magic and capture the title for the second time in their careers.
Jennifer Brady, coming off her best career result at a WTA Premier-level event with a semifinal finish in Dubai last week, will play her first tournament as a Top 50 player. She’s a rising player to watch like the Dubai runner-up Elena Rybakina, who will climb to No.17 after her fourth final of a stunning season.
British Doubles Interest
- Luke Bambridge/Ben McLachlan
- Santiago Gonzales/Ken Skupski
- Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury
- Jamie Murray/Neal Skupski
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