DOHA: Qatar Open prime seed, Austria’s Dominic Thiem, gained a tough-fought opening spherical match in Doha on Monday, beating Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy in straight units 7-6 (7/three), 6-three.
The world tennis quantity 5 was pushed exhausting by his opponent, particularly within the first set the place Donskoy threatened an early upset.However he gained in a tie break, earlier than breaking the Russian’s serve twice within the second set, within the sixth and ninth video games, to say victory.
Thiem, one of many gamers predicted to interrupt by way of this yr amid damage considerations for the sport’s conventional huge stars, hit greater than 30 winners to safe his passage into the second spherical.
Afterwards he denied there was extra strain on gamers akin to himself to succeed this yr, due to accidents to Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray and an ageing Roger Federer.
“It was the identical state of affairs final yr, after which Roger and Rafa got here out like rockets and dominated the season,” the 24-yr-previous advised reporters.“I feel it may well occur the identical this yr. If they arrive again robust, it may possibly occur the identical.
“So I’m going into this season like I did into the final, I need to do one of the best for myself and in addition be careful that I keep away from the accidents myself and don’t look an excessive amount of who’s out or who’s in.”Defending champion Djokovic withdrew from the Qatar Open two days earlier than the event began with a persistent elbow damage.Djokovic has gained the title for the previous two seasons in Qatar, beating Nadal within the 2016 last and Murray final yr in a 3-set thriller.
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