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Malek Jaziri's disgraceful wildcard snub in Dubai a slap in in the face for Arab tennisArab No.1 Malek Jaziri given wild card snub at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
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Malek Jaziri suffered a disappointing defeat in the final round of the qualifying draw of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Sunday, falling to former world No.33 Andrey Golubev in three sets.

The match, scheduled for an 11am start, was postponed until 2pm due to the sandstorm that blew across the emirate. But even at the new time, the players were forced to play through the difficult windy and sandy conditions.

Jaziri had a slow start and lost the first set to the Kazakh 6-3, before launching a comeback and clinching the second set at 6-0. Golubev handled the wind much better in the final set and claimed the decider 6-3 for a spot in the main draw, where he takes on world No.1 Novak Djokovic’s 20-year-old younger sibling, Marko in the first round today (2pm).

“I didn’t do that great. I wasn’t able to get into the match from the start,” said Jaziri after his loss. “The wind was very tricky. He was playing good, he played a good match and I didn’t find my rhythm, I didn’t move well at all. It makes a difference at this level.”

The Tunisian however remains hopeful in making it into the main line-up as a lucky loser, should any of the 32 players in the draw pull out before their first round with an injury. He added: “Hopefully I’ll get into the draw as a lucky loser. I’m the first pick, so there’s still a chance, why not?”

The Arab No.1 was denied a wild card into the main draw when tournament organisers opted to give one to Marko Djokovic instead - a decision which was revealed at the very last minute amidst confusion over whether Jaziri was going to get the invitation or not.

Novak Djokovic however says he was unaware that any other player was in line for the wild card and that his brother’s request was made well in advance. “No, I was not aware of that but our request was given I think a month and a half ago, so it was a long time ago that we requested it,” said the world No.1.

“We managed to get him (Marko) a wild card here in Dubai and I’m very thankful to the organisers for giving him an opportunity to play. It’s going to be the biggest match of his career, he’s been struggling with injuries in the last couple of years, but this is an opportunity he can use. He can prove himself.

“He had surgery that took him off the circuit for ten months last year and now he’s back and he’s trying to raise his level of confidence and one win at a tournament level like this one can meet a lot for him.”

The last of the qualifying matches concluded yesterday with German Michael Berrer edging Japan’s Tatsuma Ito 7-6 (12/10), 7-6 (7/3) to go head-to-head with No.3 seed Andy Murray in the first round.

Swiss Marco Chiudinelli got past Spaniard Arnau Brugues-Davi 7-5, 6-4 and will meet Nikolay Davydenko in round one, while Lucas Lacko of Slovakia beat Slovenian Grega Zemlja 6-4, 6-4 for a spot against wild card Sergei Bubka Jr.