Qatar Open: Ferrer does an encore to Rafa’s 2015 Doha outing

David Ferrer, Qatar ExxonMobil OpenDoha: The defending champion was shown in the first round at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex.

Call it coincidence, but the result was an encore to what happened in 2015.

On Tuesday, the World No. 7 David Ferrer was outdone in a power-packed three-set match by 94th ranked Ukrainian Illya Marchenko at the Centre Court.

Last year, former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal had to bear the same fate at the hands of a rank outsider Michael Berrer of Germany. Ironically, both losers were Spaniards.

In another twist of fate, both Berrer and Marchenko have had similar career graph and for both the wins in Doha would be akin to mementoes.

Post that win first round win in 2015, Berrer, had decided to hang his racket. Marchenko on his part called it his best win so far. “It’s a fantastic win. My first against top ten,” said Marchenko who pumped his fist in jubilation.

The first set more or less provided a glimpse into what was to follow. The two started off aggressively powering up their baseline game to newer heights. In the end it boiled down to who could better face those powerful shots and even move quickly up the when it mattered. And clearly the heavily built 6 feet 1 inch Ukrainian was better equipped than a much shorter Ferrer, who had a rather time winning the first set 7-6 (8).

Midway into the second Ferrer had already given up on the game and his body-language said it all. He lost 3-6 and soon it was all over for him with a 2-6 loss in the third and the last one.

“He was better than me all the match. From the first set, he deserved win the match,” said Ferrer post the match.
“I didn't play obviously my game. I didn't serve good. Second and third set, he was more aggressive than me. I didn't found the key for comeback the game.”

Rafa on revival course

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal went out and proved his statement: “I am a singles player. My priority is singles” correct.
The World No. 5, who has been seeded second in Doha got past countryman Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.

The Spaniard and his partner Fernando Verdasco had gone down to Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili and Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Monday, prompting his critics to come out in with the tongues wagging.

“Well, I have been winning here a lot of years (in) doubles, so hopefully that's the good news that I lost this time in doubles that I hope to be ready for singles,” he told media persons post the loss.

Suitably enough, he was ready for the singles, albeit with a stuttering start that saw him lose the first set 6-7. But that was as far as his opponent Carreno Busta could fantasies as the man came up with a strong performance clinching the remaining two sets 6-3, 6-1.

Berdych buries Stakhovsky

In the first match of the evening World No. 6 Tomas Berdych got the better of Sergiy Stakhovsky in straight sets in the first round.

The Czech wanted to get some good wins under his belt he couldn’t have asked for a better win than that at the season opening ATP event. “It certainly was exciting,” Berdych said after overpowering 62nd ranked Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in straight sets at the Centre Court.

“I am feeling good, healthy. The only thing I was missing out on were the matches,” he added following the 7-5, 6-4 victory.

The Ukrainian tried his best to get the better of a better-ranked and aggressive player. To a keen-eyed tennis fan it was a contest between a player who tried his best to move freely on the court, but the strong baseline attacks from Berdych left him cramped for room.

Not to speak of those powerful ground strokes from the 6 feet 5 inches tall Berdych completely flattened Stakhovsky, who though just an inch shorter than the former, was banking on a mixed game, trying to be relentless with serves and volleys.

Berdych on his part gave credit to his opponent. “Well, I'm probably not the great rater of, you know, just of the performance. I think it's the best way is to win and to get the first match done. That's why I succeed today.

“As I said, it's always tricky to play him. He's one of the few that likes to come a lot of to the net, playing a lot of slice and a lot of variation in the game.”

Stakhovsky’s on field claim to fame so far has been his 4-set victory of Roger Federer at the hallowed greens of SW19, that had him stretched to 7s in all of them. Other than that he has just been ordinary. Of court, however, he courted controversy at the Wimbledon last year when his impromptu statement had become a sticking point for a section of women players.


Singles - Round of 32

(3) CZE Tomas Berdych bt UKR Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-5, 6-4
UKR Illya Marchenko bt (4) ESP David Ferrer 6-7(8) 6-3 6-2
RUS Teymuraz Gabashvili bt ITA Simone Bolelli 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
ESP Pablo Andujar bt ITA Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 0-6, 6-4
FRA Paul-Henri Mathieu bt ESP Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7)
LTU Ricardas Berankis bt ITA (6) Andreas Seppi 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
(2) ESP Rafael Nadal bt ESP Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1

Doubles - Round of 16

(4) GER Philipp Petzschner / AUT Alexander Peya bt (WC) QAT Mousa Shanan Zayed / QAT Mubarak Shannan Zayid 6-1, 6-1
(3) ESP Feliciano Lopez / ESP Marc Lopez bt NED Wesley Koolhof / NED Matwe Middelkoop 7-6(5), 6-4
ITA Simone Bolelli / UKR Sergiy Stakhovsky bt AUT Julian Knowle / BRA Andre Sa 7-6(6), 6-1
(2) GBR Jamie Murray / BRA Bruno Soares bt MDA Radu Albot / SVK Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-3