Wawrinka Off To Strong Start In Doha

DOHA, January 7, 2020

Stan Wawrinka booked his spot in the quarterfinals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, having enjoyed a perfect start to the 2020 season on the ATP Tour. The top seed in Doha defeated French veteran Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday evening at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

In pleasant conditions with about 19 degrees Celsius on Center Court, Wawrinka sent down 12 aces and won 77 per cent of his first-service points to advance after one hour and 27 minutes.

“I’m really happy with the first match of the season, after a few months without playing matches. I’ve been practicing well and arrived early here to be ready for the first match. I think the level was good. I was really focused and moved well,” the 34-year-old Swiss was pleased with his seventh win over Chardy in as many meetings between the two.

“Jeremy is probably one against who I have the best record. But he’s always a difficult player to play. I’m happy to have won all those matches, but it’s always been difficult. You always have to find a way. He’s serving well but I managed to find the rights things to do,” said Wawrinka, who is also keeping half eye on the ongoing ATP Cup in Australia.

“They had some great matches,” the World No. 15 commented on the happenings down under. “Today was Kyrgios against Tsitsipas. I watched a bit. There are some good matches from the first tournament of the year, so it’s always nice to see that.”

However, Wawrinka is also concerned about the persistent bushfires Down Under. “I’ve been looking what’s happening like everybody. It’s really sad to see what’s happening there. It’s a big disaster for the country, for everybody there. So hopefully it’s going to go better soon.”

Before the three-time Grand Slam champion will travel to Melbourne for the first major of the season, Wawrinka will face Aljaz Bedene in the stage of the final eight at Doha. The 30-year-old from Slovenia ended Alexander Bublik‘s debut in Qatar with a 6-3, 7-5 win in one hour and 29 minutes. Wawrinka holds a 3-1 head-to-head record against Chardy.

Fucsovics, Djere advance

Earlier in the day, Marton Fucsovics continued his fine form at the beginning of the season. The qualifier from Hungary knocked off No. 8 seeded US-American Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Fucsovics capitalized on four of his 11 break point chances to prevail after two hours and 21 minutes. Up next for the World No. 70 will be Turkish wild card entry Cem Ilkel, who fought past Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in one hour and 52 minutes.

Laslo Djere also had to go the distance against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego. The fifth seed from Serbia won 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 in just under two hours of play to face Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round.

Second seed Andrey Rublev from Russia will open his title bid in the desert against Mikhail Kukushkin on Wednesday. The 32-year-old from Kazakhstan remained untroubled in his encounter with Malek Jaziri of Tunisia. Kukushkin sealed a 6-0, 6-3 victory in 68 minutes.