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ATP Doha Preview

01-04-2004, 05:28 PM
JANUARY 4, 2004
Doha Preview: Roddick Starts Off 2004 in Doha

Andy Roddick, who claimed the ATP Champions Race and the year-end No. 1 ranking at the Tennis Masters Cup Houston in November, is starting off his 2004 quest at the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open this week. The top seeded American makes his first career appearance in Qatar and will face Russian No. 2 Nikolay Davydenko in the first round. The Russian had the best year of his career in 2003, winning two ATP titles.

Rainer Schuettler, seeded No. 2, will try to build on his strong performance in 2003 where he finished off the year by reaching the semifinals at the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston. He finished in the Top 10 for first time, winning two ATP titles in four finals and 71 matches last season. The German won his first ATP title in Doha in 1999 and was also a finalist in 2000.

No. 3 seed Mark Philippoussis, who helped Australia clinch the Davis Cup against Spain in the final, will face defending champion Stefan Koubek in the opening round. The hard-serving Aussie, who makes his first appearance in Doha, finished in Top 10 for first time in his career and as No. 1 Aussie for first time since 1995 and also won his 10th career ATP title in 2003.

Younes El Aynaoui, seeded No. 6, is competing in Doha for the tenth time. The crowd favourite from Morocco won the Doha crown in 2002, the third out of his five titles.

Frenchman Nicolas Escude received a wildcard in Doha and will play his first match since retiring against Juan Carlos Ferrero in the second round of last year’s Wimbledon with a hip injury.