There was no stopping the world number one Novak Djokovic who steamrolled his opponent in his Qatar Open opener but Dominic Thiem, Karen Khachanov and David Goffin were sent out packing in their first round encounters.
Djokovic, who won the first tournament he played this season, albeit an exhibition one in Mubadala, breezed past Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-2 to send a warning to his opponents in the lead-up to the first major later this month. Needing just 55 minutes to finish the match, Serbian expressed his pleasure over the result and said his focus and intensity were at their best.
“I’m happy I didn’t spend too much time on the court. I’m looking forward to continuing playing this way.”
Having now won 36 of his last 39 matches, Djokovic will now face Marton Fucsovics in round two but more vitally will have an even easier draw at the Qatar Open after two of his opponents bit the dust early in the competition.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert sent out the second seeded Dominic Thiem in their first round match at the Qatar Open, winning 6-3, 7-5 while Stan Wawrinka, who is on a comeback trail, defeated the third seeded Khachanov. Wawrinka won 7-6, 6-4.
Also falling at the very first hurdle was the sixth seeded David Goffin, who fought hard but lost in a three-set thriller to Ricardas Berankis 3-6, 6-4, 7-6.
Among the rest, advancing into round two included fourth seeded Marco Cecchinato, fifth seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, seventh seed Roberto Bautista-Agut and the eighth seeded Fernando Verdasco.
Three of these four registered a straight-set victory over their respective opponents while Basilashvili had a curious 6-1, 1-6, 6-1 scoreline as he rolled past Albert Ramos Vinolas in his round one match.
The second round match-ups will have Cecchinato take on Argentinian Guido Pella, Basilashvili face Andrey Rublev of Russia, Bautista-Agut play fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez and Verdasco take on the wild-card Tomas Berdych.