• Federer takes on Davydenko in Doha first round

    1/2/12 5:34 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Federer takes on Davydenko in Doha first round Roger Federer and Nikolay Davydenko will square off in a blockbuster Doha opener on Tuesday. Ivo Karlovic and Sergiy Stakhovsky are also in action.

    Nikolay Davydenko vs. (2) Roger Federer

    Familiar foes Davydenko and Federer will be doing battle for the 18th time in their careers when they clash in round one of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Tuesday. Federer is dominating the head-to-head series 15-2, including 11-2 on hard courts. Their most recent encounter came in the final of this event last year, with the Swiss rolling 6-3, 6-4.

    Federer did not win another title after Doha until he heated up last fall. The world No. 3 triumphed in Basel, Paris, and at the World Tour Finals to wrap up his 2011 campaign with a 64-12 record. Davydenko mostly disappointed and went 25-25 last season. He is toiling down at No. 41 in the world and will be hard-pressed to bounce back at 30 years old. Look for Federer to prevail in straight sets.

    Sergiy Stakhovsky vs. Ivo Karlovic

    Stakhovsky and Karlovic will be going head-to-head for the fourth time in their careers on Tuesday. After Stakhovsky took two straight meetings in Zagreb in 2008 and 2009, Karlovic got revenge with a straight-set victory at the 2009 Indian Wells Masters.

    Both men are coming off lackluster 2011 seasons. Karlovic returned from injury, compiled a 16-21 record at the ATP level, and finished at No. 56 in the world. Stakhovsky registers six spots behind at No. 62 after going 25-27 last year. This has the makings of a close one, with a slight edge going to Karlovic based on his ability to win free points on serve.

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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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