DUBAI // Andy Murray had a gentle practice session on the outside courts at the Dubai Tennis Centre yesterday content in the knowledge that he is likely to start favourite for the men's tournament which begins on Monday. With world No 1 Rafael Nadal having confirmed his withdrawal alongside that of world No 2 Roger Federer, and the third-ranked Novak Djokovic battling away in France last night, Murray returned to the Middle East fresh and raring to go after winning his 10th ATP Tour title in Rotterdam a week ago.
Scotland's Murray, who is the world No 4, has already had a strong start to the year, winning the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament and defending his Doha title in early January before returning from his fourth round defeat in the Australian Open to triumph in Holland. The Dubai tournament organisers will be hoping that Djokovic comes safely through his commitments in Marseille where he was due to play the German Mischa Zverev for a semi-final spot last night, and that Andy Roddick, winner of this tournament a year ago, does the same at the RMK Championships in Memphis.
Roddick defeated his compatriot Robbie Ginepri on Thursday 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals, while second seeded Juan Del Potro of Argentina saw off Estonia's Ernests Gulbis to go through 6-3, 6-4. At the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires, the fifth seeded Argentine Jose Acasuso made short work of defeating Italy's Fabric Fognini 6-4, 6-3. In the women's competition in Memphis, Britain's Anne Keothavong battled through to the semi-finals with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 victory over New Zealand's Marina Erakovic.
@Email:firstname.lastname@example.org To read a Roger Federer interview during his visit to Dubai go to www.thenational.ae/sport