Last week of February is witnessing two ATP World-Tour 500 tournaments in Dubai and Acapulco and one ATP250 tournament in Buenos Aires. Every top ranked player is competing at the venue of his choice. The richest field is reserved for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are making their first appearance since the Australian Open. Joining them in the fray are; world no.4 Andy Murray and world no.8 Tomas Berdych. World no.3 Rafael Nadal has opted to play at Buenos Aires perhaps because he prefers clay to any other surface. Rafa is coming back to Argentina Open after 10 years in the tournament that marks the end Latin America’s Golden Swing. Defending champion for the past three years, David Ferrer has chosen to play at the second ATP500 event at Acapulco. Three past champions at the Argentina Open are coming back to challenge Nadal and they include; Nicolas Almagro, Juan Monaco and of course Robredo. At Acapulco, David Ferrer will have world no.5 Kei Nishikori for company along with Grigor Dimitrov.
After the inaugural edition in 1993, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has attracted the top tennis talent. In 2005, Dubai made world-wide news, when two past champions; Andre Agassi and Roger Federer played a friendly game on the helipad of the iconic Burj Al Arab. It is a highly rated ATP event with recognition of winning ATP world-tour 500 award 10 times in 11 years. In 23 years, Federer has won here 6 times and Djokovic 4 times. The two will be looking to add another title to their names in 2015. Besides the top names, the 2015 edition also features Ernests Gulbis, Feliciano Lopez, Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin with wild cards Marco Baghdatis, James McGee and teen sensation Alexander Zverev.
Playing for the ninth year in a row at the Dubai Duty-free Open, Novak Djokovic will be aiming to become the 12th player in the Open Era to win 50 tour-level titles. He is currently tied with his coach Boris Becker, who won 49 titles in his illustrious career. With a 4-0 record in the finals, Djokovic has never lost before reaching the quarterfinals for an amazing 25-2 overall record at Dubai. Roger Federer will look for his seventh title in the town, where he maintains his second home and draws stupendous crowd support every time he takes to the court. Federer has already won at Wimbledon and Halle seven times and early this year, he recorded his 1000 match victory at Brisbane. Talking about milestones, Tomas Berdych is also closing on a milestone of his own. The top Czech player is just two match wins away of becoming the seventh active player to claim 500 wins. He finished runners up to Djokovic in 2013 and to Federer last year. Andy Murray with 489 match victories is not too far behind either. The last piece of good news is the first ever appearance by the famous Bryan Brothers in the men’s doubles event. The field in this category is complimented by Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau; Vasek Pospisil/Edouard Roger-Vasselin; Rohan Bopanna/Daniel Nestor; Djokovic/Djere and Federer/Lammer.
In the second ATP500 event at Acapulco, Mexico, Kei Nishikori is the top seed. He is about to reach 200 wins with 199 already under his belt. Nishikori will strive for a back-to-back title after he won the Memphis Open 10 days ago. This is the second time after 2012 that the Japanese is coming back to Acapulco, which is favorite ATP World-Tour destination for many stars. The tournament made a switch from red clay to blue hard courts and besides Nishikori, Ferrer and Dimitrov, others competing at Acapulco are; Kevin Anderson, Santiago Giraldo and Mexico’ no.1 player Daniel Garza. Ferrer is the man to watch with three consecutive title wins at Acapulco in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Rafael Nadal is playing on the clay surface of the Buenos Aires tournament after a gap of 10 years. In his last appearance here in 2005, Nadal lost to Gaston Gaudio in quarter-finals. The King of Clay wants a victory here to equal Guillermo Vilas’ 46 Clay-court titles. In the ATP circuit, there is no other active player, who is close to Nadal. The Acapulco event has a large number of players from Spain including world no. 18 Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro, Juan Monaco, Albert Ramos Vinolas, Pablo Carreno Busta. Other non-Spanish player in fray are; world no. 23 Pablo Cuevas, world no. 28 Fabio Fognini and world no. 30 Leonardo Mayer. Defending champion for the past three years, David Ferrer has chosen to the second ATP500 event at Acapulco.
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