DOHA, January 3, 2017
World No. 1 Andy Murray had a fabulous start into the 2017 season, celebrating a 6-0, 7-6 victory against Jeremy Chardy of France at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Tuesday. The 29-year-old Scot lost his serve only once but capitalized on four of his seven own break point chances to finish the encounter in one hour and 21 minutes.
“I think first set Jeremy didn’t play particularly well, to be honest,” Murray told. “I was up 40-15 in the first game of the second. If I held that game I could have made the second set a bit easier for myself. He played very well in the second set. Every time he was behind in the service games he came up with some good points, was aggressive. From my side, I felt like I hit the ball very clean. I wasn’t misshitting many balls. Moved pretty good and served well, especially in the tiebreak. Yeah, for a first match it was good for sure.”
The Brit ended 2016 with five titles and 24 victories in a row, capped by a win over Novak Djokovic in the ATP World Tour Finals championship match. Murray is 15-2 lifetime in Doha, beating Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer en route to titles in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Next up for Murray will be Gerald Melzer. The 26-year-old Austrian celebrated a hard-fought 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in exactly two hours of play.
Asked what he knows about his next opponent, Murray told: “Not too much, but I’ve seen him play a few times. I’ve never played against him before. I saw him play a little bit few years ago in Munich. He reached the quarters, and the winner of my match in the quarters played the winner of his match in the semis. I’ve seen him play in Vienna. My coach is out there watching his match today.”
Fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has ended nine consecutive years in the Top 15, overcame Andrey Kuznetsov from Russia, winning 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. The World No. 12 from Le Mans fired nine aces and won 84 per cent of his first service points to advance in one hour and 26 minutes.
“I played pretty good in the first set. Then I was waiting a little bit more in the second for the good shot. In the first I went on the first shot, and in the other one, I don’t know why in the second I was waiting for something. In the third set I came back to like the first set and it was good,” Tsonga was satisfied with his first performance in Doha since lifting the trophy here in 2012.
“I didn’t lost for the moment since the last time here, so it’s good for my confidence. I’m really happy to be back. I have had a good welcome here. It’s great. Great to play tennis. The court is good. Everything is good. It’s nice to start the season like this.” Tsonga will next play Dustin Brown from Germany.
Jaziri With New Coach Falls To Kohlschreiber
Philipp Kohlschreiber opened his 2017 season with a 6-2, 7-6 win over Malek Jaziri from Tunisia. The tournament’s number seven from Augsburg converted three of his 12 break point opportunities to set a second round clash with Spaniard Nicolas Almagro after one hour and 42 minutes.
“I think was a tough match today,” Jaziri told afterwards. “Philipp played well during the match. I had a few good opportunities today in the second set. Even in first set, I had I think seven or eight break points but didn’t take a break. I think that I was not really at 100 per cent. I need maybe few matches like that before I can get in good shape.”
Jaziri is ranked World No. 58 and captured three titles on the ATP Challenger Tour last season. He starts the season with Frenchman Christophe Freyss as new coach.
“He was head coach for Tunisia National Team for seven months and also coached in Egypt. We practice a lot on the backhand. I think that I have improved a lot the backhand. And the serve as well. I have big percentage of first serve today. So I will take the best today from this match and work on that.”
The 32-year-old will continue his tour in Auckland, followed by the Australian Open, the Davis Cup and the ATP 250 event in Montpellier in February. His goals for 2017 are ambitious.
“I would like to enter the top 10, top 20. I’m improving my things, my play. I’m trying to do my best,” Jaziri stated.