DOHA, January 6, 2020
Main draw action at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open kicked off on Monday at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha with two seeded players in first-round action.
Alexander Bublik knocked off No. 7 seed Adrian Mannarino of France 6-3, 6-4. The 22-year-old from Kazakhstan, who is making his debut in the desert, landed 10 aces and broke Mannarino on three occasions to advance after one hour and nine minutes. Bublik will next take on Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, who rallied past Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 after two hours and 10 minutes .
Later in the day, Filip Krajinovic of Serbia also had to come back from a set down to outlast Briton Kyle Edmund. The No. 6 seed capitalized on seven of his 14 break point chances to secure a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win in two hours and 15 minutes.
Up next for Krajinovic will be Doha resident Fernando Verdasco, who opened his home campaign with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar. The 36-year-old Madrid native didn’t face a break point and converted two of his own five break point chances to finish the encounter after one hour and 29 minutes.
“I’m happy with the way that I played,” said Verdasco. “I still think that I can play a little bit better… But in general, I’m happy with the way that I played the whole match.”
Jeremy Chardy fought past fellow Frenchman Gregoire Barrere, who battled through the qualifying, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to set a second-round clash with the tournament’s top seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland. The 32-year-old from Pau won 53 per cent of the total points played to prevail after one hour and 46 minutes.
Last year, Wawrinka contested the Qatar ExxonMobil Open for the first time since his runner-up showing in 2008. The World No. 15 fell to eventual champion Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals. Wawrinka holds a 6-0 head-to-head record against Chardy.