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David Ferrer of Spain returning a ball to Dustin Brown of Germany during their match at the Qatar ExxonMobil 2013 played at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex yesterday. PICTURE BY: SALIM MATRAMKOT
DOHA: World number five David Ferrer was made to work hard for a place in the second round after he defeated qualifter Dustin Brown 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, yesterday at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
Coming off a career-best season in which he led the ATP World Tour with seven titles and 76 match wins, the top seed won in two hours and 34 minutes.
The match was stopped in the second set, due to a hole in the court, which resulted in a lengthy delay.
Speaking of the incident, Ferrer said: “There was a hole in the court. It never happens like his but it was bad luck.”
The top seed admitted he did not serve well in the first set, which he lost 7-5.
“He played a very good game. He served very good. In the first set it was five-all. I didn’t serve so good, and he (Brown) played better than me. I tried to fight every point and finally I won,” he said after yesterday’s victory.
Elsewhere, Mikhail Youzhny recorded his 400th career ATP World Tour-level singles match win.
The fourth seed withstood 12 aces to beat Benjamin Becker of Germany 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-1 in two hours and 19 minutes to become the ninth active player to accomplish the milestone.
He is the fourth Russian to reach the 400 Match Wins Club, joining Yevgeny Kafelnikov (609), Nikolay Davydenko (455) and Marat Safin (422).
Second seed Richard Gasquet said he was “happy to win the first match of the year”, after he beat qualifier Jan Hernych 6-3, 6-4 in 76 minutes. “It’s never easy, always tense. I didn’t play in a tournament for two months. The first five games were difficult for me,” he said.
German qualifier Daniel Brands knocked out fifth seed Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 6-4 in 69 minutes. Czech Lukas Rosol beat eighth-seeded Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-2, 7-6(2) in just over 90 minutes.
Frenchman Gael Monfils, the 2006 and 2012 runner-up, improved to 14-5 in Doha after he beat local wild card Mousa Shanan Zayed 6-0, 6-3 in 48 minutes. “I think it was a good start,” said Monfils.
“I think my opponent was a bit nervous today, and then it’s always tough for a young player to play at his home tournament.”
Meanwhile, Nikolay Davydenko, one of only a handful of players to have beaten Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the same tournament, has a new year’s resolution of making a last bid to return the world’s top 20 before retirement.
“I tell everyone from my family I will push myself - I want to (win) again,” said Davydenko, whose greatest triumph involved another win over Federer the 2009 ATP World Tour finals. And so the 31-year-old asserts that he is “practising concentration” because he is “already not so young” and “maybe has two more years, but maybe only this year left”.
Davydenko concluded: “If I have no more injuries and really concentrate for matches and for practice, I can maybe be top 20 again.” AGENCIES