• Ferrer headlines Doha field, Monfils returns

    12/30/12 6:13 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Ferrer headlines Doha field, Monfils returns There will be a comeback made in Doha during the first week of the tennis season, but it won't be that of Rafael Nadal. Instead, Gael Monfils is making an appearance at the event along with headliners David Ferrer and Richard Gasquet.

    With Rafael Nadal out of the tournament, David Ferrer--a traditionally hot starter every season--will be favored to kick off his 2013 campaign with a title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. Although the field is not as strong as in past years, this may not be a cakewalk for Ferrer. He will likely have to deal with other contenders such as Richard Gasquet, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and/or Mikhail Youzhny.

    Arguably the biggest story of the event--now that Nadal is absent--is the return of Gael Monfils. The Frenchman did not play from the Nice clay-court event in May until the indoor hard-court Metz tournament in mid-September. He has won only five matches since Rome, and onlookers will be especially interested because reports surrounding Monfils' current health have been conflicting.

    Down at No. 77 in the world, Monfils will begin his season against Mousa Shanan Zayed, a wild card from Qatar. His first real test will probably come against either Kohlschreiber or Ivan Dodig in round two. The third quarter of the draw also features No. 5 seed Jeremy Chardy.

    An in-form Ferrer should enjoy a friendly path in the top half of the bracket. Doha's top-ranked participant is in a section that features nobody ranked higher than fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar. Potential semifinal opponents for Ferrer include Youzhny, Feliciano Lopez, and Nikolay Davydenko.

    At the bottom of the draw, Gasquet could meet either Fabio Fognini or Grega Zemlja in the second round. Barring minor upsets, the Frenchman is slated to face Viktor Troicki in the quarters.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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