Philipp Kohlschreiber opened his season with a 7-6 (5), 6-1 victory over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in the first round of the Qatar Open on Monday.
The third-seeded German was joined in the second round by sixth-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia, who battled past Bjorn Phau of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Nikolay Davydenko, who has been plagued by injuries and whose ranking has fallen to No. 48 from a high of No. 3, cruised past Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-2, 6-3.
Kohlschreiber outlasted his opponent with a gritty display. With both players holding serve throughout the first set, Kohlschreiber finally found a forehand winner in the tiebreaker.
“It was a good first set and he never gave me any easy balls,” said Kohlschreiber, who wrapped up the match with an ace. “At 29, I’m one of the older guys in the tour and I hope to adjust a few things in my game next year.”
After breaking Dodig in just the second game of the second set, the German pressed his advantage and broke again in the fourth before wrapping up the match.
Troicki was stretched hard in a thrilling tie that lasted 1 hour, 45 minutes.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match, especially since it was the start of the season. Bjorn played really well and it was a tight match indeed. I’m happy to finish my match before the New Year started,” said Troicki, who fired seven aces in the match.
Top-seeded David Ferrer and second-seeded Richard Gasquet of France were to play their opening-round matches yesterday.
The US$1.05 million tournament is missing many of the game’s biggest stars, with Ferrer and Gasquet as the only top-10 players taking part in the event.
AP, CHENNAI, India
Sixth-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase and eighth-seeded Go Soeda of Japan progressed to the second round of the Chennai Open with straight-set wins on Monday.
Haase overcame the challenge of local wild card Yuki Bhambri 7-5, 6-3, while last year’s semi--finalist Soeda defeated unheralded Russian Evegeny Donskoy 6-1, 6-2.
Haase, a two-time quarter--finalist in Chennai, won 78 per cent of his first serves and saved all four break points he faced.
The 25-year-old Haase returned to winning ways after finishing last season with a run of seven straight defeats.
He will now face Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene in the round of 16.
“I was nervous at the beginning of the match, but managed to stay with him,” Bhambri said. “I also had opportunities and if I had taken them, the score could have been different. It was a good match against a top-50 player and it would have been incredible if I had won.”
In the other match involving a seeded player, Soeda cruised as his opponent struggled to adjust to the conditions.
“This was a good start to the year, last year too, this was a good tourney for me,” Soeda said. “The performance gave me a lot of confidence as I’d reached the semi-finals. I trained a lot during the off-season and that helped me move well on court.”
In other matches, Frenchman Eduardo Roger-Vasselin defeated Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-4 and Aljaze Bedene of Slovenia knocked out Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-2.
Meanwhile, the four qualifiers advancing to the main draw were Rubens Bemmelmans of Belgium, Cedrik-Marcel Steebe of Germany, Rajeev Ram of the US and Prakash Amritraj of India.