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ATP Dubai Tennis Championships: Leander Paes and Prajnesh Gunneswaran carry India's hopes

Leander Paes
Leander Paes
Modified 24 Feb 2020

What's the story?

Indian veteran tennis player Leander Paes and wildcard entrant Prajnesh Gunneswaran will be carrying India's hopes at the ATP Dubai Tennis Championships.

The background

The women's tournament has already concluded, with Romanian ace Simona Halep clinching the women's singles title after defeating Elena Rybakina 3–6, 6–3, 7–6 (7-5) in a well-contested final.

Meanwhile, Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strýcová bagged the women's doubles title after defeating Barbora Krejčíková and Zheng Saisai 7–5, 3–6, [10–5] in the final. The Chinese Taipei-Czech duo had won the title at the 2019 edition as well and put on a stellar performance to successfully defend their title in 2020. 

The focus now shifts to the men's tournament that is scheduled from February 24 to 29. Defending men's singles champion Roger Federer will be missed as he has withdrawn after undergoing knee surgery.

Also Read: Roger Federer undergoes knee surgery, to be out of action until grass season

The heart of the matter

Two Indian men's players will be in action in the main draw of the ATP 500 event. Paes and his Australian teammate Matthew Ebden will be in contention in the men's doubles category. The duo, who were granted a wildcard for the Dubai Open, finished runners-up at the recently-concluded Bengaluru Tennis Open. 

Olympic bronze medallist Paes and Ebden are in for a tough challenge early on as they are pitted against the second-seeded pair of Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek in the first round. The Croatian-Slovakian pair, who also made it to the semifinals at the Australian Open 2020, will be the clear favourites to win the match. 


18-time Grand Slam Champion Paes, who is on his farewell tour, told Gulf News:

Also get: the full Dubai Tennis Championships 2020 Schedule

"Dubai, where I have always enjoyed great support from the Indian diaspora, will certainly be one of my last stops."
Prajnesh Gunneswaran
Prajnesh Gunneswaran

Meanwhile, Gunneswaran will be in action in the Men's Singles Round of 32 fixture after attaining a wildcard to the main draw. The World Number 134 will lock horns with Dennis Novak in the opening encounter. The Austrian would be the favourite to win while Gunneswaran will look to punch above his weight and take out his best to progress to the pre-quarterfinals. 

Rohan Bopanna and Spanish partner Pablo Carreno Busta failed to make it to the main draw after a 3-6, 6-3, (6-10) loss to the Finnish-German pair of Henri Kontinen and Jan-Lennard Struff in the qualifier. 

What's next?

Paes and Gunneswaran have both been handed challenging draws at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships 2020. Their respective clashes are likely to take place on February 25, 2020. 

Also Read: Leander Paes advises aspiring players to play every match like it is their last

Published 24 Feb 2020, 13:56 IST
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