Nadal vs. Baghdatis Highlight Day Two in Dubai

Posted on February 27, 2007

First round play continues on Tuesday in Dubai, led by No. 2 and defending champion Rafael Nadal, who takes on last year’s Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis. In addition, No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko, No. 5 Tommy Haas, No. 7 Novak Djokovic, and No. 8 David Ferrer are in action.

Leading off the Centre Court schedule is Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany against recent first-time ATP winner Gilles Simon, who captured the title in Marseille. This is the second straight week the two are meeting after Kohlschreiber won last Wednesday in the first round of Rotterdam.

In the second match, Davydenko takes on 35-year-old qualifier Younes El Aynaoui, who is the oldest player in the draw. This is their first ATP meeting but El Aynaoui won in the quarterfinals on clay of the Braunschweig Challenger in Germany in 2001. Davydenko is playing in Dubai for the fourth straight year. He enters with an 11-5 match record on the season, having reached the semifinals in Doha (l. to Murray) and Rotterdam (l. to Ljubicic) last week. He also was a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open. El Aynaoui is making his 10th career appearance in Dubai and his best result was a runner-up in 2002 (l. to Santoro).

In the evening session, defending champion Nadal takes a 2-0 lifetime record against Baghdatis. Last year the 20-year-old Spaniard won in the quarterfinals at ATP Masters Series Indian Wells and in the semifinals at Wimbledon. Nadal, who is 7-3 on the season, is playing in his first tournament since reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open last month. Baghdatis is off to a career-best 14-4 start, having won his second career ATP title in Zagreb (d. Ljubicic) and reached the final in Marseille (l. to Simon) on Feb. 18.

In the final match, wild card Radek Stepanek takes on German No. 1 Haas, who is coming off his 11th career ATP title in Memphis (d. Roddick) on Sunday. This is the first meeting between the two. Haas is making his Dubai debut with a career-best 13-2 start.

On Court 1, Ferrer looks for his first career victory against Swede Robin Soderling, who is 3-0 against the Spaniard. Rotterdam champion Mikhail Youzhny, a semifinalist in Dubai last year, meets Jarkko Nieminen for the second time. The 24-year-old Russian won the previous meeting in the second round of Zagreb last year. In the final singles match, Djokovic plays Kristof Vliegen, who won their previous meeting in 2005.