Doha: Novak. Rafa. Tomas. The Top-3 Advance

Day-3 of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016 featured the Singles Round of 16 and the Doubles Quarterfinals. While the remaining top-seeds advanced, Qualifier Kyle Edmund stole the headlines, reaching his first ATP World Tour Quarterfinal with a third-set tie-break win over Daniel Munoz de la Nava. Kyle’s wins here in Doha:

  • Q1: def. Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 6-4, 6-3
  • Q2: def. (8) Radu Albot (MDA) 6-2, 6-4
  • R1: def. Martin Klizan (SVK) 6-2, 6-3
  • R2: def. Daniel Muñoz de la Nava (ESP) 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3)

Here on Center Court, we started the day with the 7-seed Jeremy Chardy and his dismantling of doubles partner Paul-Henri Mathieu. Chardy set the tone early, breaking Mathieu to open both sets and delivering his second straight-sets win of 2016: 6-2, 6-4. Chardy will face Illya Marchenko in the Quarterfinals. Marchenko upset defending champ David Ferrer in Round-1 before eliminating Teymuraz Gabashvili today.

Novak Djokovic after the victory

Match-2 brought Fernando Verdasco back to Center Court, just 16-hours after defeating Malek Jaziri in Round-1 after midnight. Novak Djokovic gave him little to work with, mixing up his shots and serving well when it mattered. Novak took the first set 6-2. In the second, Verdasco double-faulted to fall behind 2-4. Novak would break again to win the match in 69-minutes: 6-2, 6-2. I asked Novak what advice Boris Becker’s been able to impart to propel him to the title, seeing as Boris won the inaugural Qatar Open in 1993. “Just win,” said Novak. “That’s it – just win.” It’s clear Novak relishes the thought of adding his name to the prestigeous list of Doha Champions. He’ll face a dangerous Leonardo Mayer in the Quarters – Mayer has taken out Qualilfier Benjamin Becker and Pablo Andujar to earn his shot at the World #1.

Rafael Nadal after the victory

Rafael Nadal continues to roll. The wind has settled and his feel for the ball is back. Nadal leapt out to a 3-0 lead over Robin Haase, then served out the set 6-3 in 31-minutes. With total control and punishing groundstrokes, Rafa only allowed the Dutchman two more games advancing to the Quarters with a 6-3, 6-2 win. It took awhile for fans to settle on match point. Attempting to serve it out, Nadal was interrupted by several “Vamos Rafa!”‘s, forcing him to reset. The final “vamos!” actually came from Haase on the other side of the net. Funny guy. Up next for Rafa: Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.

The final match on Center Court featured a thumping. Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur was bageled through the 10th game. It was too late to establish his rhythm. Though he did score a break to reach 2-4, Berdych would shut the door in 65-minutes: 6-0, 6-4. In our chat after the match, I told Tomas his next opponent was still playing next door as Edmund and Munoz de la Nava were locked-up at 5-all in the third. While happy to hear they were still ‘hard at work,’ he conceded they’re both young and he’d have to be ready for anything in the Quarters.

In the doubles draw, the top-4 seeds are still in play. After victories today, tomorrow’s Semifinals will feature: [1] Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau vs. [4] Phillipp Petzschner and Alexander Peya / [2] Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares vs. [3] Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez.

RESULTS. Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016. Second Round Singles.
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d F. Verdasco (ESP) 62 62
[2] R. Nadal (ESP) d R. Haase (NED) 63 62
[3] T. Berdych (CZE) d D. Dzumhur (BIH) 60 64
[7] J. Chardy (FRA) d P. Mathieu (FRA) 62 64
[8] L. Mayer (ARG) d P. Andujar (ESP) 62 64
[Q] K. Edmund (GBR) d D. Muñoz de la Nava (ESP) 57 63 76(3)
I. Marchenko (UKR) d T. Gabashvili (RUS) 64 62
A. Kuznetsov (RUS) d R. Berankis (LTU) 76(6) 61

RESULTS. Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016. Quarterfinal Doubles.
[1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d T. Gabashvili (RUS) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 61 61
[2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d J. Chardy (FRA) / P. Mathieu (FRA) 76(5) 64
[3] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d S. Bolelli (ITA) / S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 62 67(3) 10-6
[4] P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) d D. Marrero (ESP) / A. Seppi (ITA) 62 64

Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016 – Day-4 Order of Play
Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016 – Updated Singles Draw
Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016 – Updated Doubles Draw