Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and James Ward in action in Dubai on Tuesday
Last Updated: 23/02/15 6:26pm
British duo Andy Murray and James Ward and world No 1 Novak Djokovic are all in first-round action at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.
Third seed Murray faces world No 34 Gilles Muller, who is coached by Briton Jamie Delgado, while Davis Cup teammate Ward comes up against sixth seed Feliciano Lopez.
Murray arrived in Dubai on the back of a disappointing quarter-final exit at the Rotterdam Open but he has an unbeaten record against Muller, who recently recorded wins over David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov.
"Murray will be wary of how well Gilles can serve in particular, which is his strength,” said Sky Sports expert Mark Petchey.
“In the course of Andy's career he has a phenomenal record against left-handers (59-18), but this is the first one he's played this season.
I feel good. I arrived a couple of days ago and have been practising indoors these last few days and getting my body clock ready. It has been a good start to the year so far.
"The ball tends to fly a bit in the desert air so it will take a bit of adjustment for Andy. He won't be looking past Gilles because the first round is always tough."
Murray will be second on Centre Court after the meeting of fourth seed Tomas Berdych and Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
While Murray is the overwhelming favourite against Muller, Ward is the rank outsider in his match with Lopez.
The British No 2 came through the qualifiers, beating Marius Copil in three sets in the final round, while Lopez arrives in the UAE in good form after reaching the final of the Ecuador Open earlier this month.
First seed Djokovic, who has won this tournament four times in the last six years, is also in action. He faces Vasek Pospisil, who was beaten by Murray in the second round in Rotterdam.
Djokovic has started 2015 in style, winning his fifth Australian Open title, and he is expected to overcome his Canadian opponent.
"It's tough to back against Novak right now after winning in Australia," said Petchey.
"His ability to dominate week in-week out and you do feel he has that stranglehold, especially in these kind of conditions.”
Order of play for Tuesday, February 23 (UK time)
Centre Court (from 10am)
Tomas Berdych (4) v Jeremy Chardy
Gilles Muller v Andy Murray (3)
Novak Djokovic (1) v Vasek Pospisil
Fernando Verdasco v Guillermo Garica-Lopez
Sergiy Stakhovsky v Lukas Rosol
James Ward (q) v Feliciano Lopez (6)
Marsel Ilhan (q) v Alexander Zverev
Borna Coric v Malek Jaziri
Simone Boletti v Lucas Pouille
Roberto Bautista v Dominic Thiem
David Goffin v Marcos Baghdatis
Watch the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships live on Sky Sports 3 on Tuesday from 10am