DOHA, January 4, 2017
Fans at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open could enjoy a stur-studded line-up on Wednesday, featuring World No. 1 Andy Murray. The two-time Doha champion extended his career-long-match win streak to 26, as the 29-year-old Briton defeated Gerald Melzer 7-6, 7-5 in a match-up of little brothers. Melzer’s older bro Jürgen is a former World No. 8, while Murray’s older sibling Jamie reached No. 1 in doubles last season.
The top seed had to fight hard, sending down 10 aces and converted four of his 14 break point opportunities to finish the encounter after two hours and 23 minutes.
“I thought he was excellent,” Murray praised his opponent. “I mean, he moved well. His intensity throughout the whole match was great. His level didn’t drop at all and he was really aggressive. As soon as you dropped the ball short or in the middle of the court he was going for it off both sides. He wasn’t afraid to come forward either. He moved forward a lot. Maybe didn’t volley as well as he would’ve liked, but he was very, very aggressive and moved well but I steadied myself and played some good stuff to get the win, so that was most important thing.”
Murray will next face Nicolas Almagro. The in-form Spaniard celebrated his 7th victory over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in the 10th meeting between the two. Almagro won 7-6, 7-6 in one hour and 45 minutes.
Djokovic And The On-Court Selfie
Earlier the day, defending Doha champion Novak Djokovic didn’t face a break point and took only 71 minutes on centre court to see-off Horacio Zeballos from Argentina 6-3, 6-4 to book a spot in the quarterfinals.
Zeballos wanted to freeze the pair’s first tour meeting with a photo after the encounter.
Zeballos asking Novak for a selfie after his loss 😂 pic.twitter.com/VEYTe2COKa
— inara (@justdjoking) 4. Januar 2017
…and here it is:
Eehhh sorryy. Creo que tengo la mejor selfie del dia jejeje. Que groso Nole.un genio!! Y yo figuretiiii.. Me encanto!! pic.twitter.com/lMXDqKdcyl
— horacio zeballos (@HoracioZeballos) 4. Januar 2017
In his post-match press conference, Djokovic told that it has been the first time an other player asked him for a selfie. “It was quite nice. I mean, nice surprise. I never experienced that in let’s say official tournament. Quite a creative idea,” he told and added about the match:
“It was a good quality match. I thought I played well on my service games. I didn’t face break point, so that’s a positive. It was a better performance from my side than the first match. Hopefully I can old this incline in the form.”
Djokovic will next play qualifier Radek Stepanek. The Czech veteran edged past Belgian wild card Arthur de Greef 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 19 minutes.
“Radek has a very unique style. He is very, very talented. Great anticipation on the court and he knows how to take away the time from the opponent. He can play well from the back of the court, but he uses every short ball to come in. I’m sure we’ll see him a lot on the net tomorrow. I’m going to try to just hold my ground and protect the baseline and see what happens.”
Berdych, Karlovic And Verdasco Advance
On Court 1, third seed Tomas Berdych also advanced to the stage of the final eight. The World No. 10 defeated fellow Czech Jiri Vesely in a rematch from Wimbledon, where Berdych won on his eighth match point. This time, Berdych emerged victorious, winning 7-6, 1-6, 6-1 in one hour and 45 minutes.
Ivo Karlovic got the better of Russia’s NextGen star Karen Khachanov, winning 7-6, 7-6. In a match without any breaks, the big Croat fired 16 aces to prevail in one hour and 29 minutes. Karlovic will next play Fernando Verdasco, who outclassed fourth seed David Goffin from Belgium 6-7, 7-6. The 33-year-old from Spain won 70 per cent of his first service points to advance in one hour and 41 minutes.
Photo Gallery Wednesday (by Brigitte Urban):