DOHA: Former champion Nikolay Davydenko of Russia yesterday crushed Romania’s Victor Hanescu in straight sets to launch his 2013 campaign on a winning note at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
Davydenko, the 2010 Qatar Open champion and 2011 runner-up, won 6-2, 6-3 in just 75 minutes.
Yesterday’s easy win allowed the ‘grumpy-looking’ Russian to remain perfect against Hanescu, improving to 4-0 against the Romanian.
Two Italians, Simone Bolelli and Paolo Lorenzi, also got their 2013 ATP World Tour seasons off to a winning start with victories over Spaniards.
Bolelli withstood 13 aces to beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(2) and Lorenzi defeated Albert Ramos 7-6(4), 6-1.
Tobias Kamke, Daniel Brands, Dustin Brown and Jan Hernych all qualified for the main draw at the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament.
Davydenko said he did not not enjoy playing on New Year’s eve.
“We’re playing in 2012. I really don’t enjoy playing on 31st. But anyway, I will enjoy not playing tomorrow (today),” the Russian said.
“I can really celebrate my party tonight and sleep and get ready to play on (January) 2nd,” Davydenko added yesterday after his easy win.
“I (am) really happy, you know, to win today’s match,” he said.
The Russian said he has the fire to push himself for tennis glory in the 2013 season.
“I want to try to win next season, to play well again and keep my concentration,” he said.
“I’m not so young. Maybe I have two more years (on the Tour), maybe one more year,” he explained.
“I did not play well last season because I wasn’t very fit (but) I am still top 50,” Davydenko said.
“That’s was I need to think about that if there’s no injury, and if I can really concentrate well for my matches and during my practice (session), then maybe I can be top 20 (again). We will see what happens at the end of the new season,” Davydenko said.
Earlier, before the action on court began for the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2013 yesterday, the players took time to unwind and enjoy at the annual player gala dinner. It was held at the Al Mirqab Ballroom at the Four Seasons Doha.
This year’s event celebrated 21 years of men’s professional tennis in Doha.
In attendance were Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) President, Nasser Al Khelaifi; Secretary General, Yousef Al Obaidly; Assistant Secretary General, Tariq Darwish Zainal; Executive Director, Saad Al Mohannadi; Tournament Director, Karim Alami, and VIP guests from ExxonMobil Qatar, Inc. and other sponsors.
Special guests included football players from French club Paris Saint Germain, who are currently in Doha for a week-long training camp.
Speeches were made by Al Khelaifi and ExxonMobil Qatar, Inc. President, Bart Cahir.
Top seeded player David Ferrer of Spain joined all his fellow seeds onstage, including Richard Gasquet, Jeremy Chardy and Philipp Kohlschreiber to kick-off the start of the tournament.