Djokovic looks to bounce back

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Novak Djokovic will strive to show that his recent case of indigestion at the Australian Open was just a case of bad luck, with the Serb world number two return

Updated: February 07, 2010 17:49 IST
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Novak Djokovic will strive to show that his recent case of indigestion at the Australian Open was just a case of bad luck, with the Serb world number two returning to action as top seed at the Rotterdam Open starting here on Monday.

Djokovic, who moved up to second in the world behind Roger Federer after the Australian Open, had to quit with stomach problems in a quarter-final loss to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Djokovic last played at the Ahoy stadium in this Dutch port city in 2007, reaching the semi-finals at the ATP 500 series event with a loss to Mikhail Youzhny, the eventual champion. He opens in the first round against Ukrainian Sergei Stakhovsky, ranked 66th.

Djokovic takes top seeding after the injury withdrawal of Rafael Nadal, who is resting a fragile knee on doctor's orders in Spain with hopes of returning in early March.

Nadal played the 2009 final, losing with a different knee injury to Andy Murray, who is not returning to defend his title.

The event received another late blow from Australian Open semi-finalist Tsonga, forced to pull out due to a stomach muscle injury.

"It bothered me in the quarter-final against Novak Djokovic and in the semi-final against Roger Federer," Tsonga revealed on his website.

"I hope I'll be able to go back to training next week without serving."

Australian Open surprise Nikolay Davydenko returns to Rotterdam for the seventh consecutive year, with semi-finals in 2006 and 2007 as his best efforts.

The sixth-ranked Russian turned into the comedy hit of the Open as his formerly quiet personality sudden took on new life in a series of entertaining media conferences.

The workaholic of the courts comes back to Rotterdam with recent success including the title at the year-end championships in London in November and victory in Doha in January.

His opening test will be against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who has beaten the Russian in four of five ATP meetings and is also in form having reached the final of the South African Open.

Sweden's Robin Soderling, last year's Roland Garros finalist against Federer, was given a wild card after an opening round defeat in Australia.

Soderling lost the 2008 final to France's MIchael Llodra, inserted into the 32-man draw in place of compatriot Tsonga.

Frenchman Gael Monfils takes the fourth seeding with a late start expected after he reached the semi-finals at the South African Open but failed to live up to his top seed status as Lopez beat him in their last four encounter.

Spain's Tommy Robredo is seeded fifth ahead of Youzhny.

American James Blake makes his Rotterdam debut with a first-round encounter with Marcos Baghdatis as the Cypriot shrugs off concerns of tendinitis in a shoulder.

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