DOHA, January 6, 2016
The top three were in action on centre court of the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha with world number one Novak Djokovic continuing his quest for a first title at the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open. The 28-year-old Serbian defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. Djokovic saved the only two break points he faced, converting four of his own to finish the match after one hour and nine minutes. It was his 17th win in a row against Spaniards and 19th straight victory over left handers.
“I’m very pleased with the way I have started this season, with two matches in straight sets,” Djokovic said. “Tonight was tougher than the first round. Obviously I expected that. Verdasco is a former Top-10 player, somebody that has a lot of weapons in his game and who can create a lot of power from the forehand side. I wanted to take away the time from him. So I tried to mix it up. I served well in important moments.”
Djokovic will face eighth seed Leonardo Mayer next, who beat Pablo Andújar 6-2, 6-4 in 71 minutes.
Second seed Rafael Nadal also advanced to the quarterfinals for a seventh time in his eighth appearance in Doha. The world number 5 downed Robin Haase, winning 6-3, 6-2. Nadal saved two break points and capitalized on three of his own chances to prevail in 65 minutes.
“I played at a very high level against a good opponent today,” Nadal said. “My serve was a little bit worse than yesterday, but in general I am happy with the victory and my level of tennis. I hit my returns with a lot of confidence.”
Nadal will take on Andrey Kuznetsov next. The 24-year-old Russian beat Ricardas Berankis 7-6, 6-1 in one hour and 25 minutes.
“Kuznetsov is an aggressive player,” Nadal added. “I played against him at Roland Garros a couple of years ago, and he made some great shots. I hope I’ll be able to play at the same level as today.”
Doha’s number three Tomas Berdych cruised past Damir Dzumhur, winning 6-0, 6-4. The world number 6 from the Czech Republic won 76% of his first service points, firing six aces to close the match after 65 minutes.
Seventh seed Jeremy Chardy emerged victorious from the all-French-affair with Paul-Henri Mathieu, winning 6-2, 6-4. The world number 31 from Pau smashed 12 aces and saved all of the two break points he faced to seal victory in 66 minutes.
Chardy will take on Illya Marchenko in the quarterfinals. After the 28-year-old Ukrainian had knocked out defending champion David Ferrer on Tuesday, he continued his winning streak through a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Teymuraz Gabashvili. The match lasted one hour and 18 minutes.