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

Venus sets sights on 2020 Olympics
Dec 01

Venus sets sights on 2020 Olympics

London : Evergreen American Venus Williams has dismissed any notion of announcing her retirement anytime soon, saying she is eager to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 37-year-old had a successful year in the absence of her sister Serena through pregnancy, climbing to number five in the singles rankings...

Read More
The shot clock
Nov 23

The shot clock

Roger Federer thinks it is “stressful”, and Rafael Nadal says it is “not good for the future of the Tour”. But at January’s Australian Open, a shot clock will count down in between points to ensure players serve within 25 seconds. The Australian Open’s proposal has the unanimous...

Read More
Goffin ends Federer’s season
Nov 19

Goffin ends Federer’s season

London : David Goffin mounted a spirited fightback to stun six-time champion Roger Federer and reach the final of the season-ending ATP Finals in London. The Belgian seventh seed, 26, came from a set down to win 2-6 6-3 6-4, his first victory in seven attempts against the 19-time Grand Slam champion. “I...

Read More
Goffin to face Federer
Nov 18

Goffin to face Federer

London : Belgian seventh seed David Goffin completed the semi-final line-up at the ATP Finals with victory over Austrian fourth seed Dominic Thiem in London. Goffin won 6-4 6-1 to secure second place in the Pete Sampras Group and set up a semi-final against Roger Federer on Saturday. “It will be a tough...

Read More
Nadal ends season after defeat by Goffin
Nov 15

Nadal ends season after defeat by Goffin

London : World number one Rafael Nadal pulled out of the ATP Finals and brought an end to his season after defeat by Belgian seventh seed David Goffin in his opening round-robin match. Nadal said before the tournament his knee was “not perfect” but fought hard before losing 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7)...

Read More
Jack Sock boosts ATP Finals hopes
Nov 15

Jack Sock boosts ATP Finals hopes

London : Jack Sock kept his dreams of a fairytale finish to his season alive yesterday, beating Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) at the ATP Finals. Cilic, who won the 2014 US Open, broke the American twice to win the first set but found himself adrift in the second as Sock levelled the...

Read More
Serena attends first public event
Nov 15

Serena attends first public event

New York : Serena Williams has made her first public appearance since the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia in September, at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York City. Williams, who was honoured as a Glamour Woman of the Year in 2009, presented the Supernova Award to...

Read More
Federer feels Murray is  making good progress
Nov 14

Federer feels Murray is making good progress

London : Roger Federer says he was surprised how well Andy Murray played during their charity match last week as the Scot continues his recovery from a hip injury. Murray faces a race against time to find both fitness and form before the Australian Open in January, having not managed a competitive outing since...

Read More
‘Nervous’ Dimitrov edges past Thiem
Nov 14

‘Nervous’ Dimitrov edges past Thiem

London : Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov admitted he had felt “pretty nervous” after seeing off Austrian Dominic Thiem in three dramatic sets on his ATP Finals debut. Sixth seed Dimitrov beat fourth seed Thiem 6-3 5-7 7-5 in the opening round-robin match in the Pete Sampras Group. Dimitrov failed...

Read More
Federer opens with win over Jack Sock
Nov 13

Federer opens with win over Jack Sock

London : Six-time champion Roger Federer opened with a straight-set win over Jack Sock at the ATP Finals in London. The 36-year-old Swiss, making his 15th appearance at the season-ending event for the top eight players in the world, won 6-4 7-6 (7-4) at the O2 Arena. American Sock was making his tournament...

Read More