Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic returns the ball to Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych during their match in Qatar’s ExxonMobil Open in Doha yesterday. Karlovic beat Berdych 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7-4).
DOHA: Tall Croatian Ivo Karlovic yesterday upset fourth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic on the opening day of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
Karlovic, making use of his 2.08m frame, ousted Berdych 7-6 (7-6), 7-6 (7-4) at the Khalifa Tennis Complex where two-time Doha finalist Gael Monfils of France overcame a slight stutter in the first set to beat Santiago Giraldo of Columbia.
Karlovic, 34, fired an astonishing 24 aces in his straight-set upset of Berdych. The match lasted 1 hour 46 minutes.
Earlier, Monfils, 27, won 7-6, 6-2 to reach the second round at Khalifa Tennis Complex after spending just 77 minutes on the centre court.
Also yesterday, eighth seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain beat Filippo Volandri of Italy. A former world number seven, Verdasco won 6-3, 6-3 in 67 minutes.
Lukasz Kubot of Poland also reached the second round with a straight-set win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain. Kubot won 6-4, 6-3 in 79 minutes.
It was Kubot’s fourth win over Daniel in six meetings on the ATP Tour.
In what would have been a pleasing outing on a cool evening yesterday, Britain’s Andy Murray paired up with Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia to beat German duo of Daniel Brands and Florian Mayer.
Murray/Zimonjic won 3-6, 7-6, 10-8 to advance to the next round of the doubles draw.
Today, world number one Rafael Nadal of Spain will play his first official match of the new season when he takes on Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic.
Nadal, who won 10 titles in 2013, will kick off the new season at Khalifa Tennis Complex hoping to replicate his brilliant run of form in the last season.
Also in action will be second seed and world number three David Ferrer of Spain. Ferrer will take on Alexndr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in their first match of the new season.
Wimbledon champion and world number four Andy Murray will have to negotiate the challenge of Qatari wildcard Mousa Shanan Zayed on the centre court. Murray is coming back after a three-month lay-off.
The winner in Doha picks up a handsome prize bag of $ 188,600 while the losing finalist goes home $ 99, 325 richer.