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

Bauhaus edges out Kittel
Feb 24

Bauhaus edges out Kittel

Abu Dhabi : Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) took a photo finish win on stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour. Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) took second, and Pascal Ackerman (Bora-hansgrohe) repeated his third place of the previous stage.  Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) finished fourth on the stage, and retained his...

Read More
Viviani pips Van Poppel, takes lead
Feb 23

Viviani pips Van Poppel, takes lead

Abu Dhabi : Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) won an easy sprint on the second stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, also taking the race lead. Second on the day went to Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) with Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) third. The win moved Viviani to the top of the GC, tied on time with...

Read More
Kristoff claims opening stage
Feb 22

Kristoff claims opening stage

Abu Dhabi : Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) came out on top on stage 1 of the Abu Dhabi Tour. The European road champion came off Caleb Ewan’s (Mitchelton-Scott) wheel in the final 100 metres and held off a late challenge from Andrea Guardini (Bardiani CSF). Ewan looked to have the win in the bag...

Read More
The legend of Federer
Feb 21

The legend of Federer

London : At 36, most sportsmen are thinking of retiring, but not Roger Federer, who is re-firing and will today assume the exalted position of being the No.1 men’s tennis player. For the fourth time since he turned professional in 1998, the Swiss master will become the oldest man to achieve that top...

Read More
Real Madrid fightback
Feb 20

Real Madrid fightback

Madrid : Real Madrid staged a storming second-half comeback to beat Real Betis 5-3 in an eight-goal La Liga thriller. Marco Asensio (two), Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were on target as the Spanish champions recovered from a 2-1 interval deficit to avenge Betis’ Bernabeu victory in...

Read More
India wallop South Africa
Feb 17

India wallop South Africa

Centurion : After an impressive bowling display, skipper Virat Kohli led from the front with the bat to help India beat South Africa by eight wickets in the sixth one-day international at the SuperSport Park in Centurion yesterday. Dominant India wrapped up the six-match series 5-1. Kohli continued his great...

Read More
Cort sprints to victory
Feb 17

Cort sprints to victory

Muscat : Magnus Cort (Astana) sprinted to victory on stage 4 of the Tour of Oman, beating Bahrain-Merida’s Giovanni Visconti and Alberto Bettiol (BMC) to the line at the Ministry of Tourism. The stage included three laps over the stiff climb of Al Jabal Street, which meant that a reduced peloton contested...

Read More
Mane nets hat-trick as Liverpool win
Feb 16

Mane nets hat-trick as Liverpool win

Liverpool : Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick and Mohamed Salah continued his phenomenal run with a 30th goal of the season as Liverpool won 5-0 at Porto to virtually assure themselves a Champions League quarterfinal place. Mane was in the right place at the right time to score twice in the first half before rifling...

Read More
Halep handles Makarova
Feb 15

Halep handles Makarova

Doha : Simona Halep needed just over an hour to take down Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-0 and make a winning start to her Qatar Total Open campaign. In her pre-tournament press conference, Halep discussed bouncing back mentally after the Australian Open, saying, “Everything was beautiful at that tournament,...

Read More
Gundogan double as Man City triumph
Feb 15

Gundogan double as Man City triumph

London : Ilkay Gundogan scored twice as Manchester City put one foot in the Champions League quarterfinals with an emphatic 4-0 win over Basel. In-form Sergio Aguero scored his 198th City goal and Bernardo Silva also got on the scoresheet as Pep Guardiola’s side cruised to victory on a freezing night at St...

Read More