Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Headline ATP Doha Tournament

Shane LambertAnalyst IIJanuary 1, 2012

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried TsongaJulian Finney/Getty Images

While ATP Chennai and ATP Brisbane are stretched relatively thin when it comes to headliners, no one can really say the same thing about ATP Doha.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are all part of the Doha draw as the 2012 season kicks off. Chennai, though not without top 10 talent, only has Janko Tipsarevic and Nicolas Almagro in its field, while Brisbane only features Andy Murray as far as top 10 players go.

Federer, in his first-round match, has drawn Nikolay Davydenko, a matchup that favors the world No. 3. Davydenko is a tough veteran, however he has almost always failed when matched up against the Swiss Maestro in the past.

In 17 previous meetings, the Russian has just two wins against Federer, although one of those victories did come in Doha as the two players met in the quarters of the tournament in 2010. The two players met again in the tournament's final last season, a match that Federer won to take the title down. 

Barring an upset in the match in favor of Davydenko, the Russian is at risk of falling out of the top 50 when the rankings update next week, as he has 150 ranking points at risk in the event.

Nadal, in his opening match, will face Philipp Kohlschreiber, a matchup that is highly favorable to the Spaniard. Nadal has won all seven of their previous meetings regardless of surface and he will have the confidence when the two meet in their eighth head-to-head appearance.

Kohlschreiber can ground some hope in the fact that Nadal is not at 100 percent, as there is talk of a shoulder injury with the Spaniard. However, Kohlschreiber's victories over top five players are few and far between, and Nadal will be looking to put a poor performance in Abu Dhabi behind him.

Tsonga is on the same half of the draw in Doha as Federer, a circumstance that sets up a possible semifinal clash between the two. The Frenchman has an incredibly light quarter in Doha and he should walk all over Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri in the first round and Italy's Flavio Cipolla in the second round.

Gael Monfils and Viktor Troicki are considered peripheral threats for the title in Doha and they are in one another's way for a spot in the semis on Nadal's side of the draw. But if the Spaniard's shoulder injury does turn out to be a factor in Doha, then perhaps Monfils or Troicki will be making an appearance in the tournament final instead of the world No. 2.

Predicted finalists: Monfils vs. Tsonga