Is it “Dustin” or “Charlie Brown?” After two solid qualifying wins, BAM! Lucy ripped the football away from Germany’s showman and the Doha fan favorite, depositing Dustin Brown’s name into the “deuce slot” right at the top of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open draw. Congrats on two consecutive Quarterfinal runs here, Dreddy. Next up for you? World #1 Novak Djokovic. Damn the luck.
Qualifying is done in Doha and the field is set for the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016…
Looking to repeat 2015’s magic, Germany’s Michael Berrer – who took-out defending champ Rafael Nadal in Round-1 last year – was up a set on countryman Benjamin Becker. After dropping a close second set, he then went up 3-0 in the third…but couldn’t finish. A tough match for both, seeing as they’ve been traveling and training together in preparation for the new season. Becker drew the #8-seed Leonardo Mayer for Round-1 of main draw play.
The U.K.’s Kyle Edmund and Russia’s Aslan Karatsev also advanced in Sunday’s final round of qualifying in Doha. Edmund will face Martin Klizan in the first round, while Karatsev drew Robin Haase.
ROUND-2 QUALIFYING (Sunday)
- (2) Benjamin Becker def. (6) Michael Berrer (GER) 5-7, 7-5, 7-5
- (3) Kyle Edmund (GBR) def. (8) Radu Albot (MDA) 6-2, 6-4
- Aslan Karatsev (RUS) def. (5) Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-4, 6-4
- (7) Dustin Brown (GER) def. Mirza Basic (BIH) 6-4, 7-5
ROUND-1 QUALIFYING (Saturday)
- Mirza Basic (BIH) def. (1) Inigo Cervantes (ESP) 3-6, 6-2, 7-5
- (2) Benjamin Becker (GER) def. Flavio Cipolla (ITA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
- (3) Kyle Edmund (GBR) def. Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 6-4, 6-3
- Aslan Karatsev (RUS) def. (4) Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 6-3, 6-3
- (5) Lukas Lacko (SVK) def. Jan Hernych (CZE) 6-1, 6-4
- (6) Michael Berrer (GER) def. (WC) Jabor Mohammed Ali Mutawa (QAT) 6-0, 6-1
- (7) Dustin Brown (GER) def. Marek Michalicka 7-6(5), 6-4
- (8) Radu Albot (MDA) def. (WC) Mousa Shanan Zayed 6-2, 6-1
And away we go! Day-1 of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016 starts at 3:30 Monday afternoon at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex. First on center court: Hopeful Rio Olympic doubles team Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco take on the virgin pairing of Teymuraz Gabashvili and Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Rafa won his fourth Doha doubles title here last year, partnering with Juan Monaco. Fernando reached the semifinals with partner David Marrero.
Then at 5:30p, Novak Djokovic will launch his 2016 Doha run versus qualifier Dustin Brown. Making his second Doha appearance, Nole’s looking to improve on his quarterfinal dismissal last year on the business-end of Ivo Karlovic’s serve. Conditions are windy and tough again this year, but certainly not as challenging as the post Persian Gulf dust storm Novak faced shortly before last year’s loss.
The final two matches on center court will feature Spain’s Daniel Munoz de la Nava vs. the #5-seed Feliciano Lopez and wild-card Marsel Ilhan of Turkey vs. Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.
The Player Party is also Monday night at the St. Regis Doha. I’ll be heading that way right after bringing Lopez and de la Nava onto the court. After seeing the entertainment line-up, I hope to have some entertaining stories from the “Gala Dinner.” Stay tuned.