Florian Mayer of Germany in action against World number four Andy Murray of Great Britain during Qatar Open 2014 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha yesterday. Mayer won 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. RIGHT: Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Tobias Kamke of Germany. Nadal won 6-3, 6-7, 6-3. PICTURES BY: SHAIVAL DALAL
BY RIZWAN REHMAT
DOHA: World number one Rafael Nadal of Spain yesterday restored order at the season’s first ATP Tour event with his trademark feisty approach on court after four seeds were beaten at the $1m Qatar Open.
Nadal beat Germany’s Tobias Kamke 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 after Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, second seed David Ferrer, sixth seed Philipp Kholschriber and eight seed Fernando Verdasco crashed out of the tournament.
Playing his first official event of the 2014 season, Nadal lost the second set before staging a mini-recovery to seal his win in 2 hours and 25 minutes of exhilarating tennis.
Earlier in the day at Khalifa Tennis Complex, Germany’s Florian Mayer kicked off the New Year with a surprise win over third seed and crowd favourite Murray who was in his comeback event after a three-month lay-off.
Despite trailing by a set and 3-0 in the second set, Mayer won 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in 1 hour 51 minutes.
In the second last match of the day, Germany’s Daniel Brands produced a similar upset when he overpowered world number three Ferrer in straight sets, winning 6-4, 7-5 on centre court.
In the quarter-finals today, Brands will meet Gael Monfils of France.
On court number one, Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk yesterday battled past compatriot Kohlschriber 7-6, 7-6 in 1 hour 41 minutes.
Gojowczyk, one of six Germans on court yesterday, fired seven aces.
Goojowczyk now plays compatriot Dustin Brown who beat Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic 3-6, 7-6 (13-11), 6-4 in 1 hour 48 minutes. The 2.08m-tall Croatian fired 21 aces in his three-set loss.
Also yesterday, Romania’s Victor Hanescu shocked eighth seed Verdasco of Spain, wining their second-round clash 4-6, 7-6, 6-2.
Hanescu, who fired four aces, won the match in 1 hour 57 minutes and now meets Mayer in the quarter-finals today.
Nadal said he was pleased with his workout on the centre court.
“I am very pleased with this win because it was a tough match,” Nadal said.
“He was playing aggressive and fighting for points. He came to the court and decided to take risks,” the 27-year-old added.
“He played very well and I wish him the best of luck for Australia,”
Nadal said about Kamke. “I had a lot of chances but I couldn’t convert those. I hope I have better luck in the next match,” he said.
Despite four seeds shown the door yesterday, Nadal said it was too early to think about winning the title.
“I go day by day. I am only thinking about my next opponent. Today was a tough match. It is too early to think about winning titles when you are only in the quarter-finals,” Nadal said.
Nadal broke Kamke in the second game and then held his serve with ease to take the first set at 6-3. However, in the second set, Kamke relied on his strong returns to force the set into a tie-breaker.
In the tie-breaker, a couple of well-placed powerful forehand shots from the baseline helped Kamke race to a 5-0 cushion which the German quickly converted into a 7-3 score to pocket the second set.
In the decider, Nadal broke Kamke in game eight to jump to a 5-3 lead. Moments later, the Spaniard held his serve to seal his second win in as many days.
Nadal now plays seventh seed Ernests Gulbis of Latvia. Gulbis yesterday beat Lukasz Kubot of Poland 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in 2 hours 8 minutes.
Mayer, was one of six Germans on court yesterday, admitted he was under pressure to perform with Murray - the third seed - on song in the first half of the match.
“It is amazing that he was up 6-4, 3-0 and yet I won. The match was almost finished but I don’t know how I came back,” Mayer said.
“I played fantastic tennis, I guess. In the third set, maybe he was a little injured but I played a great match and I am really happy,” the German added.
Murray took the first set after breaking Mayer in games five and nine.
However, Mayer reeled off five consecutive games - with two service breaks in games five and seven - to win the second set.
In the decided, Mayer broke Murray twice - in games one and seven - to win the match.
When asked how he motivated himself to pull through against Murray, Mayer said: “I had nothing to lose. I just said I should go for it.”
About his match against Hanescu, Mayer said: “It is going to be a tough match. Hopefully I will be ready for it.”