Competing in Doha for the first time since 2007 when he lost in the final to Andy Murray, the three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka has made the best possible start of 2019 campaign after a rough last year, ousting the 3rd seed Karen Khachanov 7-6 6-4 in an hour and 42 minutes for the first win since Tokyo at the beginning of the October. Back in September, Stan ousted Karen in two tie breaks in St.
Petersburg and he delivered another fine performance today, saving all four break points and securing one break in the second set to seal the deal in straight sets despite winning one point less than Khachanov. The more experienced player saved a break point with a service winner in the very first game of the match and he blasted another good serve at 3-3 to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard and secure the tie break.
Khachanov was making one good hold after another but that wasn't enough to win the set, losing the breaker 8-6 following a service winner from Stan who earned a handful lead after 61 minutes of play. The Swiss drew first blood in set number two when Khachanov netted a backhand in game three and he landed two winners to erase the break points in the sixth game to stay ahead.
Serving for the match at 5-4, Wawrinka hit another unreturned serve to clinch a very important win and gather positive thoughts after the opening win of the season. After winning 25 matches in 2018 and entering the top-40, the 26-year-old Marton Fucsovics is ready to chase even bigger goals in the new season, kicking it off with a rock solid 6-3 6-2 win over Marius Copil in just 72 minutes. The Hungarian dropped 15 points in eight service games, saving all eight break points he faced to keep the pressure on the Basel finalist who was far from those numbers in his games, facing 10 break points and giving serve away four times to end his run in the opening round.
Marton made a great escape in the fourth game when he saved four break points and he could have moved ahead in the next game, creating three break points but squandering them all to keep Copil on the positive side of the scoreboard.
Nonetheless, Marton was the much better player in the closing stages of the set, winning 16 of the last 20 points for a 6-3, earning breaks at 15 in games seven and nine. Fucsovics faced a stern test at 1-1 in the second set when he fought off four break chances, finding the range on the return in the remaining games and stealing Copil's serve in games four and eight to secure the place in the second round where he will face world no.
1 Novak Djokovic. The 2nd seed Dominic Thiem arrived in Doha with three straight losses at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and he will have to wait to see his first win of the year, bowing out against Pierre-Hugues Herbert who needed an hour and 26 minutes to celebrate a 6-3 7-5 victory. This was only the second top-10 win for the Frenchman in a career and he earned it following a superb performance on serve, fending off the only break point he faced and breaking Domini once in each set to enter the last 16.
Pierre-Hugues saved that break point in the very first game of the match with a service winner and he served well in the rest of the set to wait for a chance on the return patiently. It came in game four when he broke Thiem at love thanks to a backhand down the line winner, concluding the first set with a service winner in game nine for a 6-3.
Both players served well in the second set, with nothing to separate them in the first 10 games before the crucial few minutes of the entire match. The Frenchman won a great rally in the 11th game to forge a break that pushed him closer to the finish line and he got the job done with four winners in the game that followed, celebrating one of his best wins ever and leaving Thiem empty handed. First round results:
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) vs Dominic Thiem 6-3 7-5
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) vs Marius Copil (ROU) 6-3 6-2
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs Karen Khachanov (RUS) 7-6(7) 6-4
[Q]Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs [WC]Mubarak Shannan Zayid (QAT) 6-1 6-3
[Q]Ricardas Berankis (LTU) vs David Goffin (BEL) 3-6 6-4 7-6(4)
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) vs Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3 7-6(5)
Guido Pella (ARG) vs [WC]Cem Ilkel (TUR) 7-6(1) 6-3
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) vs [Q]Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 6-4 6-2