After making headlines for all of the wrong reasons, Novak Djokovic was hoping to make headlines for the right reasons in the 2022 ATP Dubai Tennis Championships.
However, his return to tournament action for the first time this year ended with an upset loss to Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely, the 123rd-ranked player in the world, in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
As a result, Djokovic will not be able to add to his five titles in Dubai. More importantly, he is also guaranteed to lose the #1 ranking to Daniil Medvedev, with the 2021 US Open champ having advanced to the semifinals at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. For the first time since 2004, someone outside of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, or Andy Murray will top the rankings.
Moving on to today’s semifinals in Dubai, #2 seed Andrey Rublev will meet #5 seed Hubert Hurkacz, with Vesely taking on #6 seed Denis Shapovalov in the other semi.
Here’s a look at the odds for the tournament now that we have reached the semifinals in Dubai.
2022 ATP Dubai Tennis Championships Men’s Singles Tournament Info and Betting Odds Tournament Information Event: 2022 ATP Dubai Tennis Championships (a.k.a. the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships) Venue & Location: Aviation Club Tennis Center (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) Date: February 21-26, 2022 Surface: Hard (outdoor) Defending Champion: Aslan Karatsev Odds to Win the 2022 ATP Dubai Tennis Championships Men’s Singles Hubert Hurkacz +175 (started +1400) Andrey Rublev +225 (started +800) Denis Shapovalov +225 (started +2800) Jiri Vesely +500 (started +15000) Odds are via BetMGM as of Friday, February 25, 2022. 2022 ATP Dubai Tennis Championships Men’s Singles Seeds and Draw Men’s Singles Seeds
bold are still in the tournament.) 1. Novak Djokovic 2. Andrey Rublev 3. Felix Auger-Aliassime 4. Jannik Sinner 5. Hubert Hurkacz 6. Denis Shapovalov 7. Aslan Karatsev 8. Roberto Bautista Agut Men’s Singles Draw – Semifinals #5 Hubert Hurkacz (-125) vs. #2 Andrey Rublev (+100), 8:00 a.m. ET
Hurkacz had underwhelmed in his first two tournaments in 2022, falling in the second round (round of 64) at the Australian Open and the second round (round of 16) at the Rotterdam Open.
But he has come to play this week in Dubai, and in yesterday’s quarterfinals, recorded an impressive straight-sets victory over fourth-seeded Jannik Sinner.
Today, he will look to remain unbeaten against Rublev, who he has defeated in both previous head-to-head encounters.
It is a bit surprising to see Hurkacz favored over Rublev, who went into this week’s tournament off the back of a tournament win at Open 13 in Marseille last week and a semifinal appearance in Rotterdam the previous week. But when Hurkacz is on, he is tough to beat, and he has brought his best thus far in Dubai.
Round of 32: defeated Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-1 Round of 16: defeated Alex Molcan 6-3, 6-2 Quarterfinals: defeated Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3
Rublev has played a lot of matches recently, and his past two matches in Dubai, against Kwon Soon-woo and Mackenzie McDonald both went the maximum three sets. The past few weeks haven’t caught up with him yet but look for it to today.
Hurkacz vs. Rublev Pick: Hurkacz to win Jiri Vesely (+170) vs. Denis Shapovalov (-225), 11:00 a.m. ET
Prior to the tournament, I did have a Canadian pegged as a potential tournament winner, but it was not Shapovalov. Felix Auger-Aliassime has been had a scorching start to 2022, and I liked his chances to make a run in Dubai after a team title (ATP Cup), a semifinal (2022 Australian Open), his first ATP title (Rotterdam), and a final (Open 13 in Marseille).
But Auger-Aliassime withdrew with a back issue, which took away the prospect of a quarterfinal matchup with his friend and compatriot Shapovalov.
After reaching the Australian Open quarters, Shapovalov had exited his next two tournaments early, so I wasn’t so high on him entering this week. But after a three-set win over Marton Fucsovics in his first-round match, he has recorded straight-sets wins over Taro Daniel and Ricardas Berankis in his past two matches.
Vesely is no scrub–he has two career ATP titles, has been ranked as high as 35th, and is actually 2-0 against Djokovic in his career–but it is safe to say no one would have expected him to be here, and by virtue of a win over Djokovic, at that.
But Vesely has been unbelievable this week, dispatching Roberto Bautista Agut, Marin Cilic, and Djokovic all in straight sets. Can he keep this run going against Shapovalov? I say he does. Vesely has an excellent career record against fellow lefties, while Shapovalov does not. Look for Vesely to come out on top in this southpaw showdown and advance to the biggest final of his career.
Vesely vs. Shapovalov Pick: Vesely to win