Defending Champion Ferrer Falls In Doha Opener, Berdych Prevails

David Ferrer is out in Doha (photo: QTF)

DOHA, January 5, 2016

Three of the four top seeds were in action on Day 2 of the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open in Doha.

Third seed Tomas Berdych defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky, winning 7-5, 6-4. The 30-year-old Czech won 87% of his first service points and capitalized on three of his five break point chances to prevail in one hour and 17 minutes.  Berdych was happy with his first performance of the year.

“It was not an easy opponent in the sense of not really giving me the right amount of rhythm that you would like to. It’s always tricky to play him. He’s one of the few that likes to come a lot of to the net, playing a lot of slice and a lot of variation in the game. But, I just took my chances in the first set, end of the first set. Made a set. Same thing in the second. It was quite solid game today and it was a good start. Just feeling good on court,” he analyzed his start into 2016.

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It was Berdych’s seventh win over Stakhovsky in their seventh tour meeting.

“Well, I think I’m able to keep the quite high level for him, playing still quite aggressive and fast from the baseline, returning well, which puts a lot of pressure on him. Then when I made my chances, then I’m able to execute them well. So that was the case of the match again today. When he’s playing well, I try to stay with him. And, you know, once he gave me a little chance, I’m able to step up and overcome his game. So that’s what has been working pretty well in the past, you know, six, seven matches,” he told.

Berdych, who played in adidas gear for the first time, reached the final here last year, losing to David Ferrer. Maybe there is the chance for claiming the title this time. He will face Damir Dzumhur next.

“It’s long way to go. I mean, of course the goal is to come for the week and for the tournament and leaving with the trophy, but on the other hand there are five guys that are in the way and they’re going to try to stop me. The first one is done. I just need to get ready for the next opponent and try to keep doing the same thing all over again till the end. That’s the goal and that’s what I’m going to try to do. It would be great. It would be great to leave with the trophy in the end.”

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Defending champion David Ferrer will not stand in Berdych’s way anymore. The fourth seeded Spaniard, who played in Abu Dhabi last weekend finishing third, lost his opening match in Doha to Illya Marchenko. The world number 94 from the Ukraine converted four of his six break point chances, celebrating his first victory over a top 10 player through a 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 win in two hours and 17 minutes.

“He was better than me all the match. From the first set, he deserved win the match, a fair loser told afterwards. “I didn’t play obviously my game. I didn’t serve well. Second and third set, he was more aggressive than me. I didn’t found the key for a comeback into the match.”

“In Abu Dhabi I was with energy, and maybe tonight I didn’t have energy. I don’t know why. I work, and, well, tonight it was not a good day,” Ferrer continued.

Marchenko will face Teymuraz Gabashvili next, who beat Simone Bolelli 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in one hour and 58 minutes.