Djokovic survives scare in Doha season opener
 
, Posted on 03-Jan-2017


Djokovic survives scare in Doha season opener

Doha : Novak Djokovic battled back from 5-1 down against world number 63 Jan-Lennard Struff to claim his first victory of the season at the Qatar Open on Monday.

The world number two lost his opening two service games and struggled with the German's big serves in the early exchanges.

But the Serb rallied in determined fashion to eventually take the first-round match 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.

"It wasn't a great start, I was 1-5 down, it didn't look very good,"Djokovic said after winning in just under 90 minutes.

He attributed his slow start to early-season rustiness rather than any long-term concerns over his form, following a relatively poor second half of the season in 2016.

"I guess I had to get more time to get the engine started. It's the first match of the year, you never know how you're going to start.

"I mean, I was a bit flat on my feet, and Struff, credit to him for playing aggressive, hitting the serves well, and ripping (the) ball from the baseline. 

"But I stayed composed because I knew, I believed that I could find the rhythm, start reading his serve better, and that's what happened."

Djokovic, who is the defending champion in Doha, hit 17 winners but also 20 unforced errors. 

In total, his opponent thundered down nine aces.

The 12-time Grand Slam winner is looking to reclaim his number one ranking from Andy Murray, who is also in Doha, and is the tournament's number one seed.

If matches go to form the rivals will meet in a mouthwatering final on January 7.

Before the tournament, Murray said Djokovic would be his main rival this season, but the Serb said 2017 would be about more than two players.

"We have the return of (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Federer that we cannot count out in any circumstances because of their history and results and the quality of players that they are," he said.

Also on Monday there were victories for Dustin Brown, who edged past Argentina's Facundo Bagnis in three sets in the first round of the singles, 6-1, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4.

And number four seed, Belgium's David Goffin, who beat Murray in an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week defeated Robin Hasse of the Netherlands, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.

Murray's begins his attempt to win the Qatar Open, an event he last won in 2009, with a first-round match against France's Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday.

The newly knighted Scotsman though was in action in the doubles on Monday, but he and partner Mariusz Fyrstenberg lost in straight sets to David Marrero and Nenad Zimonjic.

 

 
AFP


Related News

 India's Srikanth stuns Chen to win Australian Open
Jun 25

India's Srikanth stuns Chen to win Australian Open

Sydney : India's Kidambi Srikanth claimed a first victory over Olympic and two-time world champion Chen Long to win the Australian Open Superseries final in Sydney on Sunday. The 11th-ranked Srikanth outgunned the sixth-ranked Chinese star 22-20, 21-16 in 46 minutes for his second successive Superseries...

Read More
Pakistan's Fakhar goes from village pariah to 'lord'
Jun 23

Pakistan's Fakhar goes from village pariah to 'lord'

Mardan : Fakhar Zaman was once banned from playing cricket in his village and beaten by his brothers because he was simply too good -- but he has returned a hero after his starring role in Pakistan's Champions Trophy win. His eyes bright, the tall 27-year-old posed for selfies and was garlanded with flowers as he was...

Read More
Federer  claims 1100th tour win
Jun 21

Federer claims 1100th tour win

Halle : Eighteen-time major champion Roger Federer picked up his first win of the grass-court season by thrashing Japan’s Yuichi Sugita in the first round at Halle yesterday. The Swiss top seed, who skipped the entire clay-court schedule in order to be fully fit for Wimbledon, brushed aside lucky loser...

Read More
Ronaldo won't quit Real -- club boss
Jun 20

Ronaldo won't quit Real -- club boss

Madrid : Cristiano Ronaldo will be staying at Spanish giants Real Madrid and no offer has been received to tempt him away, club president Florentino Perez insisted Tuesday. Unhappy Ronaldo has been linked to Manchester United and other top clubs after reportedly threatening to leave Real and quit Spain after running...

Read More
Pakistan captain gets hero's welcome
Jun 20

Pakistan captain gets hero's welcome

Karachi : Hundreds of fans gave Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed a hero's welcome as he arrived home carrying the Champions Trophy early on Tuesday. Men, women and children packed Karachi airport as Sarfraz returned from England, where Pakistan thrashed arch-rivals India to be crowned surprise...

Read More
ICC could axe Champions Trophy for more T20 World Cups
Jun 20

ICC could axe Champions Trophy for more T20 World Cups

London : The Champions Trophy could be scrapped in favour of staging the World Twenty20 every two years, according to International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson. Pakistan thrashed India by 180 runs to win this year's edition of the Champions Trophy at The Oval on Sunday, with a worldwide...

Read More
 Perez to remain as Real Madrid president until 2021
Jun 19

Perez to remain as Real Madrid president until 2021

Madrid : Florentino Pérez will remain as president of Real Madrid until 2021 after no other candidates ran against him, the Spanish champions announced on Monday. "As no other candidature was put forward to the board ... it is proclaimed that Mr Florentino Pérez Rodríguez is president of Real...

Read More
Pakistanis rejoice after team hammers India in Champion's Trophy
Jun 19

Pakistanis rejoice after team hammers India in Champion's Trophy

Islamabad : The streets of Pakistan's cities lit up with celebrations Sunday night after the country's cricket team defied the odds to thrash rival India in the Champion's Trophy final in London. The upset, which saw Pakistan win by a record margin in the final of a global event, came after they had been on...

Read More
Never mind the cricket! India beat Pakistan ...in field hockey
Jun 19

Never mind the cricket! India beat Pakistan ...in field hockey

London : India may well have suffered a 180-rout at the hands of Pakistan in the Champions Trophy cricket final but they came out on tops on the other side of London -- in field hockey. India ran out 7-1 winners over their old rivals in a World Hockey League fixture at Lee Valley in east London just as Virat Kohli's...

Read More
Players won't budge on pay demands - Warner
Jun 19

Players won't budge on pay demands - Warner

Sydney : Australia's cricketers will not back down in a bitter pay dispute, David Warner has warned amid fears their October tour of India is looming as a flashpoint. As the June 30 deadline for a new memorandum of understanding between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association fast...

Read More