Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) def  Tomas Berdych (CZE) 64 16 76(4)
Huge win for Jan-Lennard Struff. The 10-year Tour veteran has earned the biggest wins of his career over the past 18-months. In the 2016 Paris Masters, he felled World #3 Stan Warinka. Last year, he upset World #11 Grigor Dimitro in the Monte Carlo Masters and US Open Finalist Kevin Anderson in Shaghai. On Tuesday night, in a deciding tiebreak, he bested 2015 Doha Finalist and former World #4, Tomas Berdych.
The two had played once before, last year at Roland Garros, where Berdych emerged the victor in four sets.
Struff. In control from ball up
Jan-Lennard set the tone for the match, opening with a break. Up 5-4, the German and World #53 missed on two set-points, but delivered the opener in his next service game.
In the second, Berdych showed-up. Both held through the first changeover before Berdych won four straight to force the deciding set.
The third was tight. The two traded breaks at the halfway mark, then settled into the tiebreak. With the pressure on, mentally, Struff was simply the better player. This was Berdych’s first match since falling to Andrey Rublev at the Beijing Masters in early October. Struff finished 2017 in Paris healthy, and pulled from his experience knocking-off Dimitrov and Anderson in big matches last year. Down the stretch, the German took more chances and earned the tiebreak 7-4.
Next Up: Gael Monfils, who defeated Paolo Lorenzi on Tuesday Night
Jan-Lennard Struff and Gael Monfils haven’t met since the 2014 French Open, where Monfils won their 2nd-Round match in straight sets, after a 1st-set tiebreak. This is Gael’s first tournament since retiring from his 3rd-Round match with David Goffin at the US Open over the Summer. After defeating Paolo Lorenzi Tuesday night, Gael said he’s excited to be back in Doha and feeling fit and healthy to start the new season. A Wild Card in this year’s draw, Monfils is a 3-time Finalist here in Doha. He fell to Federer in the 2006 Final, Tsonga in the 2012 Final, and Nadal in 2014.
NOW IN HIS 10TH SEASON ON TOUR, THIS 27-YEAR-OLD IS COMING OFF HIS MOST-SUCCESSFUL YEAR ON TOUR. IN 2017, HE TOOK NOVAK DJOKOVIC TO A FIRST-SET TIE-BREAK HERE IN DOHA, THEN REACHED HIS 17TH CAREER ATP CHALLENGER TOUR FINAL IN CANBRERRA, WHERE HE ALSO WON THE DOUBLES TITLE. AT THE MONTE CARLO MASTERS, HE DEFEATED WORLD #11 GRIGOR DIMITROV TO REACH THE ROUND OF 16, CLIMBED TO A CAREER-HIGH RANKING OF #44 IN THE WORLD, REACHED THE SEMIFINALS IN WINSTON-SALEM AND ST. PETERSBURG, AND UPSET WORLD #15 AND US OPEN FINALIST KEVIN ANDERSON AT THE SHANGHAI MASTERS. NOT TO MENTION, HIS CLUTCH PERFORMANCES AGAINST PORTUGAL IN THE WORLD GROUP PLAYOFFS KEPT GERMANY IN THE DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP FOR 2018. THE OWNER OF 5 ATP CHALLENGER TOUR SINGLES TITLES, HIS BIGGEST WIN CAME AT THE 2016 PARIS MASTERS, WHERE HE DEFEATED WORLD #3 STAN WAWRINKA IN A DECIDING-SET TIE-BREAK. COMPETING IN HIS 5TH QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN, FROM GERMANY, PLEASE WELCOME – JAN-LENNARD STRUFF
AT 32-YEARS-OLD, THIS WIMBLEDON FINALIST AND 2-TIME DAVIS CUP CHAMPION IS ONE OF ONLY FIVE ACTIVE PLAYERS WHO HAVE REACHED THE SEMIFINALS OF ALL FOUR GRAND SLAMS. REMARKABLY, LAST MAY IN ROME, HE SURPASSED 600 CAREER TOUR-LEVEL VICTORIES, THEN ADVANCED TO HIS 31ST CAREER FINAL IN LYON. HE OWNS 13 ATP WORLD TOUR TITLES OVERALL, HAS BEEN RANKED AS #4 IN THE WORLD, AND HAS LED HIS COUNTRY TO THREE DAVIS CUP FINALS – CAPTURING BACK-TO-BACK DAVIS CUP TITLES FOR THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN 2012 AND 2013. A FINALIST HERE 3-YEARS-AGO, AND SEMIFINALIST THE PAST TWO YEARS; HE’S ALSO A DOHA “DOUBLES” CHAMPION – CAPTURING THE TITLE IN HIS DOHA DEBUT BACK IN 2014. MAKING HIS 5TH QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN APPEARANCE, PLEASE WELCOME 2015 FINALIST – TOMAS BERDYCH