Novak Djokovic is safely through to the second round of the 2016 Qatar ExxonMobil Open after a routine win over Dustin Brown on Monday.
The world No. 1, playing his first match of the season, showed no signs of rustiness in this one, as he coasted past the German by a 6-2, 6-2 scoreline. He’ll face Fernando Verdasco or Malek Jaziri in the next round.
Aside from the Serbian’s triumph, there was also a win for Jeremy Chardy, who beat Mubarak Shannan Zayid with a swagger. Fifth seed Feliciano Lopez is out, though, as he fell to a shock loss against Daniel Munoz de la Nava.
Here’s a look at the day’s results, Tuesday's matches and highlights from some exciting tussles in Doha, Qatar.
|(1) Novak Djokovic bt. Dustin Brown||6-2, 6-2|
|Daniel Munoz de la Nava bt. (5) Feliciano Lopez||3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5|
|(7) Jeremy Chardy bt. Mubarak Shannan Zayid||6-1, 6-1|
|Damir Dzumhur bt. Marco Cecchinato||6-4, 6-2|
|Kyle Edmund bt. Martin Klizan||6-2, 6-3|
|Robin Haase bt. Aslan Karatsev||5-7, 6-1, 7-5|
|Andrey Kuznetsov bt. Marsel Ilhan||6-2, 6-4|
|Player 1||Player 2|
|(3) Tomas Berdych||vs.||Sergiy Stakhovsky|
|Illya Marchenko||vs.||(4) David Ferrer|
|Pablo Carreno Busta||vs||(2) Rafael Nadal|
|Fernando Verdasco||vs.||Malek Jaziri|
|Teymuraz Gabashvili||vs.||Simone Bolelli|
|Benjamin Becker||vs||Leonardo Mayer|
|Albert Ramos-Vinolas||vs.||Paul-Henri Mathieu|
|Pablo Andujar||vs.||Paolo Lorenzi|
Djokovic Too Good for Brown
As far as opening-round opponents go, Brown is probably one of the names the established elite players hope to avoid. After all, although the German is ranked a lowly No. 82 in the world, he’s capable of putting together exceptional spells of tennis, as Rafael Nadal found out to his peril at Wimbledon last summer.
But Djokovic was expectedly mechanical in this one as he dealt routinely with the vast majority of what Brown had to offer.
Even so, as we can see here courtesy of Dreddy Updates, there were still a few moments of magic from the underdog:
Djokovic dominated in general play, though. The Serbian’s serving was accurate, his groundstrokes were typically thunderous, and even when Brown did pull off brilliant shots, the top seed showed he possessed enough early-season dynamism to chase down balls the majority of players in the game would get nowhere near.
After some time away from the game following a magnificent 2015, it was clear Djokovic was delighted to get back on the court once again, per tennis reporter Reem Abulleil:
Djokovic writes "I missed it" and draws a tennis ball and :) on the camera lens after a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Dustin Brown in 51 minutes— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) January 4, 2016
Chardy made things look even easier than Djokovic did in his match, as he defeated Zayid by a 6-1, 6-1 scoreline.
The Frenchman, who is seeded seventh for this tournament, will be hoping to break into the upper reaches of the rankings this season, and although his opponent didn’t offer much in this one, Chardy showed plenty of positive segments of play.
British player Kyle Edmund is also through after a 6-2, 6-3 triumph against Martin Klizan. Stuart Fraser of the Daily Mail was impressed with the qualifier's showing:
More promising signs for Kyle Edmund who picks up his third tour win with a 6-2 6-3 victory against Martin Klizan in first round in Doha.— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) January 4, 2016
Djokovic will be a tough man to halt in this tournament. The Serbian, who won three of the four Grand Slam titles last season in addition to the ATP World Tour Finals, doesn’t seem to have lost any of his patented intensity during the winter hiatus; the signs are certainly ominous for the rest of the field with the Australian Open on the horizon.
The man likely to pose the biggest test to Djokovic is the second-seeded Nadal, who will begin his tournament on Tuesday against Pablo Carreno Busta. After a 2015 in which the Spaniard failed to scale the immaculate standards he has set previously, it’ll be intriguing to see what kind of form he’s in when taking to the court in Doha.