x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Dubai Tennis Championships: The five underdogs

Gary Meenaghan profiles the five players he believes are underdogs at this year¿s competition and who could play the role of giant-killer.

Marcos Baghdatis has reached the semi-finals in Dubai before. Koen Suyk / AFP
Marcos Baghdatis has reached the semi-finals in Dubai before. Koen Suyk / AFP

Marcos Baghdatis, world No 36

The Cypriot has a tough draw in the shape of Juan Martin del Potro, the world No 7 and 2009 US Open champion, but the 27 year old is capable of an upset on his day. In the 2010 event in Dubai, Baghdatis reached the semi-finals only to lose in three sets to Novak Djokovic. He was also the runner-up at the 2006 Australian Open and a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2006.

Nikolay Davydenko, world No 43

The 31 year old, once ranked No 3 in the world, has slipped down to 43rd following a poor 2012 that saw him fail to reach a final. This year, he has started better, progressing to the final of the Doha Open before falling to Richard Gasquet. The Russian is capable of an upset as he starts his campaign against Janko Tipsarevic, the No 6 seed.

Bernard Tomic, world No 46

Having become in 2008 the youngest player to win the junior Australian Open at age 15, Tomic went on to become the youngest male to win a senior's match at Melbourne, the following year. His progress has slowed since, but he reached his first Tour final last month in Sydney and followed it up by progressing to the third round of the Australian Open before losing to Federer.

Lukas Rosol, world No 65

The 27 year old from the Czech Republic made his Dubai debut last year and five months later was on the back pages of newspapers around the world after dumping Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon in what was undoubtedly one of the biggest upsets in grand slam history. He meets Matteo Viola, the Italian qualifier, on Court 3 this afternoon.

Dmitry Tursanov, world No 119

The 30 year old says one of his hobbies is "annoying people" and he certainly has the ability to spring a surprise this week. A big-hitting Russian, Tursanov had a poor 2012 but the previous year had reached semi-finals in Marseille and Tokyo and won the Unicef Open in Holland. He faces Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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