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  1. Tennis

Tennis: Big guns out in force as Djokovic returns

World number one Novak Djokovic makes his much anticipated return in Dubai this week and the super Serb is bidding to regain his title after his success in 2020.

Djokovic has been absent since the Davis Cup in December and faces a tricky opening-round match against talented Italian Lorenzo Musetti, but such is his quality that he can never be written off.

The 34-year-old may make a winning return but there are plenty of challengers to his supremacy with Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and defending champion Aslan Karatsev also in attendance.

If Djokovic wins his first-round match he will be rewarded with a tie against Karen Khachanov or Alex De Minaur, so there is no gimme on the Serb's return to the court.

There is also British interest in the UAE with both Andy Murray and Dan Evans heading to Dubai in their pursuit of silverware.

Medvedev headlines Acapulco field

While Djokovic headlines the Dubai field, world number two Daniil Medvedev will be down in Acapulco as he chases more success.

The rising Russian star has been off court since losing in five sets to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, although he should have few concerns in Mexico if fully wound up.

Medvedev had defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas before bumping into the Spaniard in Melbourne but this is also a talented field in Acapulco.

Nadal is the tournament's fourth seed and is housed in Medvedev's side of the draw, while Alexander Zverev, Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini are also involved in Mexico.

That shows the difficulty of the task at hand for Medvedev, although he should have few concerns in his opening game against Benoit Paire.

The pick of the first-round encounters sees Zverev take on improving American star Jenson Brooksby, while British number one Cameron Norrie tackles Carlos Alcaraz which is also a tasty tussle.

Sabalenka spearheads stellar field in Doha

The stars are also out in force on the WTA Tour with eight of the world's top ten heading to Doha in their hunt for silverware.

Powerful Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka is the tournament's top seed and the 23-year-old would be a worthy favourite in her chase of an 11th career title.

However, there are plenty of challengers to her supremacy with former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, recent St Petersburg champion Anett Kontaveit and world number five Paula Badosa also in attendance.

Although the biggest challenge to Sabalenka's reign could come from Petra Kviotva or Garbine Muguruza.

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Former world number two Kvitova is the defending champion in Doha while she also won the title in 2018 and finished runner-up to Sabalenka in 2020.

The Russian evidently loves these Qatari hard courts so has to be feared while the same can be said for Muguruza, who was beaten by Kvitova in the final in both 2018 and 2021.

In-form Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who won last week's title in Dubai, Greek star Maria Sakkari and two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep also head to the Middle East in their quest for silverware.

Raducanu the star attraction in Guadalajara

Things have not gone to plan for British teenage sensation Emma Raducanu since she claimed the US Open title at the back end of last year, but she is the star performer in  Guadalajara.

The Grand Slam champion should have few concerns in the early rounds but former US Open hero Sloane Stephens is in her half of the draw, so she can't take the challenge lightly.

Since springing a surprise in the States, Raducanu has won only three of her eight matches so she has plenty to prove.

Even if the Canadian-born teenager reaches the final, she could face either Madison Keys or Sara Sorribes Tormo in the final.

Keys reached the semi-finals in the Australian Open and appears to be operating back at her brilliant best, so has to be feared by all.

Garin chasing some home silverware

Although the most low-key tournament taking place this week, there is still a decent field heading to Santiago where home favourite Cristian Garin is the top seed.

Garin is considered a clay-court specialist so has to be feared on home soil, but he lost in the opening round in Cordoba and Rio De Janeiro and is therefore vulnerable.

There are also plenty of dangers to his supremacy, with Spanish pair Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Pedro Martínez perhaps the two biggest dangers.

It could also be worth watching 21-year-old Argentine Sebastien Baez, who defeated second seed Ramos at the Australian Open earlier this year and is favoured by this slower surface.

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