Novak Djokovic overcame a gritty challenge from Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics to reach the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open in Doha on Wednesday.
After brushing aside Damir Dzumhur in the first round in under an hour on Tuesday, Djokovic said he hoped his matches would continue in that pattern- quick and ruthless. But that wasn’t the case against Fucsovics on Centre Court at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex today.
The Hungarian had quite surprisingly Djokovic to take the opening set and played just as brilliantly in the second. But the 31-year-old Serb would get the crucial break in the tenth game of the second set and go ahead to level the match, before putting his foot down, asserting characteristic dominance in the final set to claim a hard-fought 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory in two hours of absorbing tennis.
“For the first two sets he was the better player,” said Djokovic.
“He played really well, smart, changing up the rhythm and the pace of the ball and moving me around.
“I was kind of in a corner and I had to find my way and fight my way through.”
Djokovic will play either Russia’s Andrey Rublev or Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in the quarter-finals.
Elsewhere, 3-time Grand Slam winner, Stan Wawrinka held firm to beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 7-6 and will next play Roberto Bautista-Agut, who increased his head-to-head record over Guillermo Gracia-Lopez to 4-0 with a rather comfortable 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Should Wawrinka get past Bautista-Agut, and Djokovic does well to avoid any slip up in the quarterfinals, then both men will meet in a mouthwatering semifinal showdown.