Federer Makes His Return

It's been a long wait but Roger Federer returns to the ATP circuit on Monday. He's taking part in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. We'll have plenty of coverage of this tournament which starts on March 8 with the final taking place on March 13. Will Federer be in that final? Check our daily updates.

Contents

1 Seedings

2 Previous Winners

3 The Draw

4 The Title Contenders

 

The Seedings

1 Dominic Thiem (current world ranking 4th)  - lost in quarter finals

2 Roger Federer (6th) -  lost in quarter finals

3 Andrey Rublev (8th) - lost in semi-finals

4 Denis Shapovalov (11th) - lost in quarter finals

5 Roberto Bautista Agut (13th)

6 David Goffin (14th) - lost in second round

7 Stan Wawrinka (20th) - lost in second round

8 Borna Coric (28th) - withdrew

Previous Winners

2020 - Andrey Rublev

2019 - Roberto Bautista Agut

2018 - Gael Monfils

2016 and 2017 - Novak Djokovic

 

The Draw

It's not been the kindest of draws for top seeded Dominic Thiem. He has a bye in the first round but could then face recent Australian Open semi-finalist in the last sixteen. Former champion Roberto Bautista Agut is a possible quarter final opponent wit defending champion Andrey Rublev a likely opponent in the semi-final.

Roger Federer's first match back could be British player Dan Evans, if not it'll be Jeremy Chardy. If he wins that, then he could face Borna Coric who is having a big run in this week's Rotterdam tournament. Possible semi-final opponents are recent winner David Goffin or Denis Shapovalov, so not that easy a draw.

The Title Contenders

Dominic Thiem

Thiem hasn't made a great start to 2021 and has dropped down to fourth in the rankings. He only won one of his two matches in the team ATP Cup, losing to Matteo Berrettini. He lost in the last sixteen of the Australian Open being beaten by Grigor Dimitrov.

The 2020 US Open champion put in good displays last year on all surfaces, not just clay. He ended last year with a run to the final of the ATP Tour Finals, beating Djokovic, Tsitsipas and Nadal but losing to Daniil Medvedev in the final. He needs to rediscover that kind of form this week. His draw is a tricky one and will need to find his form right from the start.

Roger Federer

The legend that is Roger Federer finally returns to the ATP Tour circuit. The 39-year-old hasn't played since last year's Australian Open tournament. Now he's back and looking to improve on his lowly fifth place in the rankings.

His last ATP Tour final was back in 2019 when winning the Swiss Indoors title. This has been the longest break of his career and he must have his eyes set on again winning Wimbledon this year. His last Grand Slam title was won in Australia three years ago.

Federer has a bye in the first round and then faces either Dan Evans or Jeremy Chardy. He's raring to go but obviously will be a bit rusty. It'll be fascinating to see how he gets on. Scroll down this page during the week to read our daily updates.

Andrey Rublev

Rublev is the defending champion and will be a major threat in this tournament. He ended 2020 well with three tournament victories. The Russian also made it to the quarter final in both the US and French Opens. 

This year saw him get off to a great start. He teamed up with Daniil Medvedev to help Russia win their first ATP Cup, winning all four of his matches. His team mate then beat him in the quarter finals of the Australian Open. His excellent form has continued this week and  on Sunday (March 7), he won the Rotterdam tournament. Good job he has a bye through to the second round in Doha.

Denis Shapovalov

Shapovalov was born in Israel, represents Canada and resides in the Bahamas. He's in Doha this week though and looking to improve his 2021 form. He lost both his matches in the ATP Cup and then lost in the last 32 to Felix Auger-Alliassime in the Australian Open.

His form hasn't been good for a while actually. He needs to rediscover the form that took him to the St Petersburg semi-final last October and the US Open quarter final.

Roberto Bautista Agut

The world number 13 is a former winner of this tournament. His best 2021 performance has been losing to David Goffin in the final of the Montpellier tournament. He lost in the first round of the Australian Open and suffered the same fate in this week's Rotterdam event.  Not an easy draw for Agut with the in-form Alexander Bublik his likely last 16 opponent and top seed Dominic Thiem possibly waiting in the quarters.

David Goffin

The Belgian is a recent tournament winner. He won in Montpellier and that was a significant return to form. He lost in the first round of the Australian Open but did start the year with a semi-final in Antalya. This week saw him in Rotterdam but lost to Jeremy Chardy (a possible first opponent for Federer) in the second round. That was a tight match with both sets going to tie-breaks. He's due to meet Denis Shapovalov in the last eight in this tournament and could then face Federer in the semi-finals.

Borna Coric

Coric is the eighth seed and a dangerous outsider here. He's had a good week in Rotterdam and has reached the semi-finals. Last year saw him achieve his best result in a Grand Slam, reaching the last eight in New York. This year began with a quarter final in a Melbourne tournament but he lost in the second round of the Australian Open. His draw for this tournament should see him reach the last eight where Federer may be his opponent.

This should be a fascinating tournament. Just how well will Roger Federer get on in his comeback? Read our updates throughout the week.

Daily Updates

Day One - Monday 8 March

Last month, Aslan Karatsev reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open. He's still in good form and won his first round match in this tournament, beating Mubarak Shannan Zayid 6-4 6-0. He now takes on top seed Dominic Thiem in the second round.

We also know who the defending champion will meet in his first match. Richard Gasquet had a straight sets win over Blaz Rola and will now face Andrey Rublev. The Russian is in top form after winning the Rotterdam tournament at the weekend.

Fifth seeded Roberto Bautista Agut is a previous winner here. He nearly went out in the first round of this year's tournament. The Spaniard dropped the first set to Reilly Opelka but won the next two. He now faces Alexander Bublik in round two.

Day Two - 9 March

Britain's Dan Evans has set up a massive match in these championships. He beat Jeremy Chardy in three sets to reach the second round. He'll face the returning Roger Federer, who he lost to in straight sets at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships.

Marton Fucsovics is a player in form. He reached the final of the Rotterdam tournament last weekend. Now he's in the second round of this tournament after beating Dusan Lajovic in straight sets. He now takes on Lloyd Harris who beat seventh seeded Stan Wawrinka in the second round.

The match was won in three sets in a marathon match that had 38 games played in it. The win means there will be at least one unseeded player in the quarter finals.

Day Three - 10 March

Defending champion Andrey Rublev is through to the last eight without playing a shot. His scheduled opponent Richard Gasquet withdrew from their match. Rublev has yet to play a match and is in the last eight!  Roberto Bautista Agut is also through to the last eight after defeating Alexander Bublik in straight sets. He now faces number one seed Dominic Thiem in the last eight.

Top seed Dominic Thiem was in trouble early on in his match today. He lost the first set to Aslan Karatsev but won the next two sets 6-3 6-2. Also through to the last eight is Denis Shapovalov who beat fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil in straight sets. 

The afternoon saw Roger Federer make his long awaited comeback against Dan Evans. He won the first set on a tie-break, dropped the second but recovered to win the final set. The quarter final sees him face unseeded Nikoloz Bashashvili.  Sixth seeded David Goffin is out. He lost to Taylor Fritz in three sets.

 

Day Four - March 11

The first player through to the semi-finals is unseeded world number 33 Taylor Fritz. He knocked out fourth seeded Denis Shapovalov despite losing the first set. It's his best performance since losing to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Acupulco clay tournament last February.

Also through to the last four is defending champion Andrey Rublev. Amazingly, he's in the semi-finals and has yet to play a match. He had a bye in the first round and scheduled second round opponent Richard Gasquet withdrew. The same has happened in the quarter final with Marton Fucsovics withdrawing!

Roger Federer is out after being beaten by Nikoloz Bashashvili in the quarter finals. He won the first set 6-3 but then lost the next two 6-1, 7-5.

The shocks continued with top seed Dominic Thiem being beaten in three sets by Roberto Bautista Agut, a former winner of this tournament.

Semi Final Line-up

Roberto Bautista Agut (5) v Andrey Rublev (3)

Taylor Fritz v Nikoloz Basilashvili

Day Five - March 12

Roberto Bautista Agut will take on unseeded Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final on Saturday. Defending champion Andrey Rublev finally got on court but lost in straight sets to the Spaniard. Basilashvili also won in straight sets defeating Taylor Fritz, the day after knocking out Roger Federer. Agut will be bidding to win this title for the second time in three years.

Day 6 - 13 March

A great week for Nikoloz Basilashvili was completed when he won the title. The unseeded player beat Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets 7-6 6-2.

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