Day 1. Round 1. Nikoloz Basilashvili

Andy Taylor. Host. Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2018. Day 1. Round 1. Nikoloz Basilashvili

Tennis Emcee. Andy Taylor. Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2018
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) def Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 64 63

This was actually the 3rd career meeting between the World #59 Nikoloz Basilashvili and World #79 Thomas Fabbiano. Both of their previous matches went the distance, including a qualifier at the 2015 US Open and a Quarterfinal at the Napoli Challenger. Basilashvili won the qualifier, Fabbiano the Challenger.

With higher-stakes in their first Tour-level clash, the Georgian rose to the occasion, dismissing the Italian in just over an hour. Both had opportunities during the match, but Basilashvili converted 4 of 9 break chances compared to Fabbiano’s 2 of 6. Defense and endurance were the keys, with Fabbiano serving-up the only ace during the match.

Up Next: Pablo Carreno Busta or Borna Coric

Basilashvili will face the winner of Tuesday’s first match on Center Court, featuring US Open Semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta and Croatia’s Borna Coric. Nikoloz downed Coric twice last year, including a Masters-1000 win at Cincinnati. He’s never faced the World #10, Carreno Busta. Coric is a legitimate threat for the surging Spaniard, after a career-best season that saw him win his first Tour-level title and earn his first career win over a World #1, defeating Andy Murray in Madrid.

Nikoloz Basilashvili. A career-best 2017

THIS 25-YEAR-OLD ENTERS THE NEW YEAR AFTER A CAREER-BEST SEASON IN 2017, WHERE HE EARNED 25 MATCH VICTORIES – INCLUDING HIS SECOND TOP-10 WIN, DEFEATING WORLD #8 DOMINIC THIEM IN SOFIA. IN 2016, HE BECAME THE FIRST PLAYER FROM GEORGIA EVER TO REACH AN ATP WORLD TOUR FINAL; AND LAST SEASON, REACHED CAREER FINAL NUMBER-2, ADVANCING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH IN MEMPHIS. IN MAY, HE REACHED THE 3RD ROUND OF THE FRENCH OPEN – HIS SECOND 3RD-ROUND RUN AT A MAJOR – AND BY JUNE, REACHED A CAREER-HIGH RANKING OF #51 IN THE WORLD. COMPETING IN HIS 3RD QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN; 3-YEARS-AGO, HE PLAYED THROUGH QUALIFYING, THEN DEFEATED MIKHAIL YOUZHNY TO ADVANCE TO THE ROUND OF 16. FROM GEORGIA, PLEASE WELCOME THE WORLD #59 – NIKOLOZ BASILASHVILI

Thomas Fabiano. Also played his best career tennis last year

OVER THE SUMMER, THIS 28-YEAR-OLD WON HIS FIRST TWO GRAND SLAM MAIN-DRAW MATCHES AT THE US OPEN, EARNING HIS CAREER-BEST RUN AT A MAJOR. BY SEPTEMBER, HE CLIMBED TO A CAREER-HIGH RANKING OF #70 IN THE WORLD, AND FINISHED THE SEASON RANKED INSIDE THE TOP-100 FOR THE FIRST TIME. HE OWNS 5 ATP CHALLENGER TOUR SINGLES TITLES, INCLUDING THREE LAST YEAR ALONE; AND OWNS AN OUTSTANDING 5-1 RECORD IN CHALLENGER TOUR FINALS. COMPETING IN HIS 3RD QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN, HE IS MAKING HIS MAIN-DRAW DEBUT. FROM ITALY, PLEASE WELCOME – THOMAS FABBIANO