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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