World number one, Novak Djokovic got his 2019 season up and running with an dominant performance against Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur in the first round of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha on Tuesday.
Djokovic needed just 55 minutes to make his statement, brushing aside the 26-year-old Bosnian 6-1, 6-2 to move into the second round.
“I tried to do everything right from the first moment, have a good focus and intensity and not allow my opponent to really feel like he has a chance to get back in the match and I was there basically every game, every point and I was happy the way that I was playing,” Djokovic said. “I’m happy I didn’t spend too much time on the court… I’m looking forward to continuing playing this way.”
The super Serb will have Hungary’s Márton Fucsovics, who defeated Marius Copil in straight sets, to contend with on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Russian sensation and reigning Paris Masters champion, Karen Khachanov failed to get his season off to a good start after narrowly falling to three-time Grand Slam champion, Stan Wawrinka.
Khachanov and Wawrinka kept play very competitive in the opening set, before Wawrinka edged the Russian in a first-set tiebreaker. The Burly Swiss would find the crucial break in the second set to seal a 7-6(7), 6-4 victory.
“Today was a great match, a great level,” Wawrinka said. “I was happy with the off-season I did. I worked long and really hard, hard enough to know that sooner or later it will pay off. I’m feeling good physically. Tennis-wise, also. Today is the first match of a year against an in-form player, who won Paris last year… so I’m happy with the way I was playing today.”
Wawrinka, a former world number three, endured a dismal 2018, and will now look to build on his fresh momentum moving forward. He plays Nicolas Jarry next.
Meanwhile, second seed Dominic Thiem suffered a shock exit as he was beaten by France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 26 minutes.
World No.116, Ricardas Berankis, rallied excellently from a set down to stun world No 22, David Goffin 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) and advance to the second round. He will play Dušan Lajović next.