Two-time Dubai runner-up Mikhail Youzhny set for 15th appearance after coming through qualifying

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Youzhny is a two-time runner-up in Dubai.

Former runner-up Mikhail Youzhny will take part in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for an incredible 15th straight year after beating Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 6-4 in the final round of qualifying on Sunday.

After struggling in 2015 and falling out of the top-100, a revitalised Youzhny has captured three consecutive Challengers in Asia last month, winning 15 matches for the loss of just two sets, to boost his ranking to No.78.

He coasted through his two qualifying matches in Dubai and has booked himself a main draw first round meeting with Tunisian wildcard Malek Jaziri, who is a former quarter-finalist in the UAE.

Youhzny, a former world No.8, has twice contested the final in Dubai, losing in 2007 to Roger Federer and taking Novak Djokovic to three sets in 2010.

“We are delighted that Mikhail Youzhny has successfully negotiated the qualifying rounds here, and he did so without the loss of a set to emphasise that he is very much back in form after a disappointing season last year,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of tournament owners, Dubai Duty Free.

“He will be a formidable opponent in the main draw.”

Also advancing into the main draw is surprise package, Croatian world No.136, Franko Skugor, who took out two Brits, James Ward and Kyle Edmund in the qualifers.

Skugor opens against Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili in the first round action on Monday.

Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who last month reached the Brisbane quarter-finals, is another successful qualifier.

The world No.91 is in the Dubai main draw for the second straight year. He fell in the first round last season to Simone Bolelli and was handed Canadian Vasek Pospisil in his opener this year.

The final qualifier spot was claimed by Italian world No.142 Thomas Fabiano, who battled for two hours and 45 minutes to overcome Ivan Dodig. Fabiano will now face Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in round one.

“Every one of the qualifiers will have drawn confidence from their performances so far and they will carry the advantage of being accustomed to the courts and conditions when they face their first round opponents,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.

“It will be interesting to see if they can convert that advantage into further success against what is again a strong field.”

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic aces Sport360's Arabic language test

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic takes on Sport360’s fun Arabic language test ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Following on from fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic’s successful go at pronouncing popular Arabic phrases last week, Djokovic showed that he is not just a champion on the court.

Watch to see how the tennis superstar fared.










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#360stats: DDF Tennis Championships in numbers

Shyam Sundar 21/02/2016
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Use #360stats to share with us your favourites.

The stage is set for the 24th edition of the iconic ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as the top players in the world get set to fight it out on the Hard Courts at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre. One of the most popular events at the ATP World Tour 500 level is destined to enthrall all tennis fanatics across the globe with a strong field.

With reigning champion Roger Federer not participating in this year’s edition, all the focus will be on World No.1 Novak Djokovic. The Serb, who recently won a record sixth Australian Open title, will be looking to reclaim the title in Dubai.

Djokovic is currently on a 12-match winning streak from Doha and Melbourne. The Top Seed, who is currently on a run of 7 consecutive titles and 17 finals, will be attempting to become only the second man to reach the finals of 18 consecutive events, after Ivan Lendl. He will also be looking to become the fourth man to win 8 consecutive tournaments, after Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Lendl. Other contenders include defending French Open Champion Stan Wawrinka who is seeded 2nd and former finalist Tomas Berdych.

To whet the appetite, Sport360 breaks down the facts, figures and stats from the tournament’s rich history.

1993 – The first edition of the Dubai Tennis Championships was played at the Aviation Club in 1993 as an ATP 250 event. Czech Karel Novacek was the winner of the inaugural edition, defeating Frenchman Fabrice Santoro in the final.

1996 – The event was played at the newly erected Dubai Tennis Stadium, which can accommodate 5,000 spectators.

2001 – ATP upgraded the tournament from a 250 level to a more reputable 500 level event.

$2.25 Million – The total prize purse for the event with close to $500,000 on offer for the eventual champion.

11 – Times in 12 years the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has been voted as the best ATP World Tour 500 Tournament (2003-06, 2008-14).

2 – Only two players other Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic have won the event since Federer’s first title back in 2003 (d. Jiri Novak) – Rafael Nadal (2006) and Andy Roddick (2008).

Younes El Aynaoui – is the only player from an Arab Country (Morocco) to make the final of the DTC (losing to Santoro in 2002).

7 – Federer is the all-time leader with 7 titles at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre (2003-05, 2007, 2012, 2014-15). Djokovic, who has won the event on 4 occasions (2009-11, 2013), follows him. Roger and Novak are the only players to have won multiple titles in Dubai.

9 – Federer has played in a record 9 finals at this ATP 500 event, including a record 5 consecutive finals (2003-07, 2011-12, 2014-15). Djokovic has featured in 5 finals (2009-11, 2013, 2015).

47 – Matches won by Federer at the DTC. The Swiss Maestro owns a record 47-5 (90.38%) win-loss record & has won close to $2.63 Million in prize money at the DTC.

past champs 2

34 – Matches won by Djokovic at the DTC. The Serbian owns a 34-5 (87.2%) win-loss record & has won close to $2.11 Million in prize money at the DTC.

14 – Russian Mikhail Youzhny will be making his 14th appearance in Dubai, the all-time record for most appearances in Dubai.

33 – The 2010 final was the longest final played at the DTC, featuring 33 games. Djokovic got the better of Youzhny in the final – 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.

12 – The 2001 final was the shortest final in the tournament history, featuring only 12 games. Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero got the better of Russian Marat Safin in the final – 6-2, 3-1 RET. Safin was forced to retire due a back injury.

33y 6m 16d – In 2015, Federer became the oldest winner at the DTC when he defeated Djokovic in a pulsating final. Federer is also the only 30+ winner of the event (2012, 2014-15).

19y 8m 25d – In 2006, Rafael Nadal became the youngest winner at the DTC when he defeated his greatest nemesis Federer in the final. Nadal is the only sub 20 winner of the event.

3 – Both Federer and Djokovic have managed to win a record 3 consecutive titles at the DTC (Federer: 2003-05; Djokovic: 2009-11).

19 – Federer managed to win 19 consecutive matches from 2003 to 2006, the best winning streak at the DTC. His run was ended by Nadal in the 2006 final. Djokovic won 18 matches from 2009 to 2012, before losing to Andy Murray in the 2012 SF.

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