DOHA, January 1, 2018
Dominic Thiem opened his 2018 campaign on the ATP World Tour with a first round victory at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. The top seed from Austria defeated Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 7-6, 6-3 on Monday.
Thiem fired 13 aces, winning 92 per cent of his first service points in his first match at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha. The 24-year-old finished the encounter after one hour and 36 minutes.
“It was a good victory because [of a] tough opponent… after a pretty long period without any matches on the ATP World Tour,” Thiem said. “After a good start, it got pretty close in the first set… at the end I’m satisfied with most parts of my game.”
Next up for Thiem will be either Aljaz Bedene or Tunisian wild card entry Malek Jaziri. He has beaten both players in their only head-to-head meetings.
Seventh favourite and Doha resident Fernando Verdasco also advanced to the second round, rallying past Dudi Sela of Israel 4-6, 6-4, 6-0. The 34-year-old from Spain capitalized on nine of his 16 break point chances to secure victory in one hour and 50 minutes. Verdasco will next take on Andrey Rublev. The #NextGenATP star from Russia benefited from the retirement of Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe due to illness. Rublev was leading 6-1.