Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic’s top ranking is under real threat regardless of whether he wins the Dubai Duty Free tennis tournament or not. Russia’s world number two, Daniil Medvedev can take the top-ranking but only if he wins the Mexican Open in Acapulco. The two ATP 500 tournaments are running concurrently.
Medvedev defeated Benoit Paire of France 6-3 6-4 in the first round of the Mexican Open to begin his quest for the world number one ranking. Medvedev can displace Djokovic at the top of the world rankings provided he wins the tournament in Acapulco, where he is making his debut. Djokovic is competing in Dubai, aiming for a sixth win.
Rafael Nadal was back in action after winning the Australian Open last month for a record 21st Grand Slam title. The 35-year-old breezed past American Denis Kudla 6-3 6-2, despite struggling in the humidity.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev was kicked out of the tournament for unsportsmanlike conduct after his doubles match. Zverev came close to hitting the umpire but ended up repeatedly assaulting the umpire’s chair with his racquet. The defending champion in the singles draw, Zverev did this twice and has subsequently been withdrawn.
In Dubai, Italian fourth seed, Jannik Sinner, was just too strong for Andy Murray of Scotland. It was Sinner’s first win over Murray, and after a tough first set, the Italian demonstrated his powerful groundstrokes to put the tie to bed 7-5 6-2. Sinner set up a quarter-final encounter with 5th seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland. Hurkacz brushed aside Slovakia’s Alex Molcan 6-3 6-2. Molcan was the player to keep South Africa’s Lloyd Harris winless in 2022.
And Coco Gauff of the United States beat the third-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain in straight sets, 6-2 6-3 to advance to the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open. Gauff is hitting her straps in her debut in Doha while Badosa barely tested in the round of 32, was caught cold in her second match of the week.