World No.1 Novak Djokovic and former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka have ignited their seasons in style in Doha.
Djokovic’s renaissance was the story of 2018 and the Serb continued his ferocious form to dismantle Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-2 to reach the Qatar Open second round.
The top seed, who won back-to-back titles at the season opener in 2016-17, dominated proceedings without facing a break point to vie for a quarterfinal spot against Marton Fucsovics.
Classic apples and stones pic.twitter.com/E4Q3XkrzWw
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) December 31, 2018
“I tried to do everything right from the first moment, have a good focus and intensity and not allow my opponent to really feel like he has a chance to get back in the match,” said Djokovic, who launches his title-tilt for a seventh Australian Open crown later this month.
“I was there basically every game, every point and I was happy the way that I was playing.
“Results-wise and time-wise, it did look quite comfortable… I’m looking forward to continuing playing this way.”
Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open champion, returned to action with an impressive 7-6(7) 6-4 victory over world No.11 Karen Khachanov.
It’s a Happy New Year for @stanwawrinka ????
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 1, 2019
“Today was a great match, a great level,” reflected Wawrinka. “I was happy with the off-season I did. I worked long and really hard, hard enough to know that sooner or later it will pay off. I’m feeling good physically. Tennis-wise, also.
“Today was the first match of a year against an in-form player, who won Paris (Masters) last year… so I’m happy with the way I was playing today.”
Wawrinka’s reward is a second-round contest with Next Gen prospect Nicolas Jarry.
Doha second seed Dominic Thiem was ousted 6-3 7-5 by a sharp Pierre-Hugues Herbert, whilst qualifier Ricardas Berankis toppled world No.22 David Goffin 3-6 6-4 7-6(4) to chalk up “one of my top wins for sure”.
12 January 2019
Rafael Nadal believes Andy Murray's looming retirement is the correct move for his mental ... More
18 January 2019
Maria Sharapova is targeting home hope Ashleigh Barty after ending Caroline Wozniacki's Au... More
5 December 2018
They're not necessarily the top players on tour, but these men and women have the most com... More