Doha, Qatar: Old warhorses Tomas Berdych and Fernando Verdasco progressed to the second round of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open with straight-set victories on Monday.
While former World No 4 Berdych overcame a tricky opponent in Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash complex, eighth-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco beat lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-3, 6-4.
Czech Republic’s Berdych will take on Spaniard Verdasco in the last 16.
Verdasco’s compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut also cruised into the last 16, with a 6-1, 6-4 win against Italian Matteo Berrettini.
Meanwhile, highly-rated Nikoloz Basilashvili overcame a lapse in concentration in the set to beat Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.
Another talented youngster and last year’s runner-up Andrey Rublev beat Italy’s Andreas Seppi 7-5, 6-1 while Chile’s Nicolas Jarry defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) after a tough battle that lasted more than two hours.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic will take on 47th ranked Bosnian Damir Dzumhur while Paris Master winner Karen Khachanov meet former World No 3 Stan Wawrinka in probably the toughest first round draw.
Second seed and last year’s runner up Dominic Thiem from Austria takes on Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.