Top seed Medvedev to face Shevchenko at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis

AFP / Lillian Suwanrumpha

World No4 and top-seed Daniil Medvedev was drawn against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Shevchenko for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships ATP event.

Shevchenko, who attended the draw. “Can we redo the draw?” joked the World No. 45, “Obviously, it’s difficult to play him here in Dubai, where he won last year. Hopefully, he will play below his average when we meet – let’s hope. It’s always great to be back in Dubai, a tournament with a big history. It’s a pleasure to play here.”

The Official Draw event was also attended by Jiri Lehecka, winner of the ATP 250 Adelaide International last month. The Czech will play a qualifier in the opening round.

Meanwhile, 12 years after losing to Roger Federer in the Dubai final and seven years after defeating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco to lift the tournament’s iconic silver dhow trophy, Andy Murray is back in Dubai.

The Scotsman currently ranked No. 50 in the world, faces a first-round tie with Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, the World No. 121.

Other highlight matches in the Round of 32 see 18-year-old Czech Jakub Mensik, who contests a maiden ATP Tour final in Doha today, square off against World No. 31 Borna Coric.

Mensik’s opponent in the Qatar final, Karen Khachanov, is the World No. 17 and fourth seed in Dubai. He must navigate a tricky tie with Australia’s Alexei Popyrin, who will chase revenge after losing to Khachanov in the Doha semis.

With World No. 8 and third seed Hubert Hurkacz facing German World No. 25 Jan-Lennard Struff, there is also an eye-catching all-French affair between Ugo Humbert, the World No. 18 and No. 5 seed in Dubai, and 37-year-old wildcard recipient, Gael Monfils.

The tournament’s second seed, World No. 5 Rublev, a beaten finalist here last year, will start his quest for a second Dubai crown against China’s Zhang Zhizhen, the World No. 47.

“This year marks the 32nd anniversary of our ATP tournament in Dubai, and I am delighted that the Tour has been with us on this exciting journey for so many years,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.

“We welcomed more than 40,000 spectators to the WTA 1000 tournament last week, and we are confident that number will be surpassed as we welcome the ATP back to Dubai.”

Announcing the event’s three wild card players – Sumit Nagal, the No. 1-ranked player in India and World No. 101; 20-year-old Jordanian Abdullah Shelbayh; and Monfils – Salah Talak, Joint-COO of Dubai Duty Free and Tournament Director of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, added: “I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Abdullah play in Dubai for the first time. He’s playing really well, and he is an inspirational example that can help progress tennis across the Arab World.” The Official Draw was led by ATP Supervisor Ahmed Abdel-Azim, who has been involved with the tournament for 25 years. He was joined by McLoughlin, Talak, and Nasser Yousef Al-Marzouqi, Secretary General of the UAE Tennis Federation.

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