A) Truly honored to be asked to host the Player’s Party here in Doha.
B) Completely pissed I was forced to leave in the first set of Daniel Munoz de la Nava‘s 3rd-set upset victory over World #17 Feliciano Lopez: 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-5.
I am in no way implying that I saw this coming…
…but I did show Daniel plenty of respect in his pre-match bio.
TO THE CHAIR UMPIRE’S LEFT – THIS 33-YEAR-OLD SHOT-UP THROUGH THE RANKINGS IN 2015, WINNING THREE OF HIS FOUR CAREER ATP CHALLENGER TOUR SINGLES TITLES LAST YEAR ALONE. HE STARTED THE YEAR RANKED OUTSIDE THE TOP-200. AFTER REACHING THE FINAL OF THE ATP CHALLENGER TOUR FINALS BACK IN NOVEMBER, HE STARTS 2016 RANKED INSIDE THE TOP-75. APPEARING IN HIS FOURTH QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN, AFTER SUCH A REMARKABLE 2015, HE IS COMPETING IN THE MAIN-DRAW HERE IN DOHA FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. FROM SPAIN, PLEASE WELCOME – DANIEL MUNOZ DE LA NAVA.
The hopeful Rio Olympic pairing of Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco chartered rough waters on Monday – falling to a team that paired for the first time ever this week: Teymuraz Gabashvili and Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Rafa and Fernando were in-control after stealing the first set in a tie-break under annoyingly windy conditions. In fact, they even went up a break in the second, but “Gabashvinolas” broke right back; then broke again to go up 5-4. They would serve out the set. Down a mini-break in the match tie-break, “Teymuramos” battled back to eliminate the other Spanish southpaws 11-9. I must say, it was kind of interesting to see three Spanish lefties on court at the same time.
In other matches on center court, unlike Nadal – Novak Djokovic had zero issues with Dustin Brown’s unconventionality…though after the match, he said he could see why others would struggle with Dreddy’s go-for-broke, James Blake-esque, “unnecessary risk” attempts at shot-making. My words, not Nole’s. Fun fact: Boris Becker is in Doha with the Djokovic camp this week. Boris was the first Qatar Open champion in 1993, and played the longest final in the tournament’s history versus Goran Ivanisevic.
The nightcap in Doha saw wild-card Marsel Ilhan of Turkey fall to World #79 Andrey Kuznetsov. Full results, updated draw sheets and Tuesday’s order of play are below…
RESULTS. Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016. First Round Singles.
 N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] D. Brown (GER) 62 62
D. Muñoz de la Nava (ESP) d  F. Lopez (ESP) 36 76(4) 75
 J. Chardy (FRA) d [WC] M. Zayid (QAT) 61 61
D. Dzumhur (BIH) d M. Cecchinato (ITA) 64 62
[Q] K. Edmund (GBR) d M. Klizan (SVK) 62 63
A. Kuznetsov (RUS) d [WC] M. Ilhan (TUR) 62 64
R. Haase (NED) d [Q] A. Karatsev (RUS) 57 61 75
RESULTS. Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016. First Round Doubles.
T. Gabashvili (RUS) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) 67(4) 64 11-9
D. Marrero (ESP) / A. Seppi (ITA) d P. Andujar (ESP) / L. Mayer (ARG) 76(4) 63
J. Chardy (FRA) / P. Mathieu (FRA) d [WC] J. Ali Mutawa (QAT) / M. Jaziri (TUN) 62 62