Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Top Seeds Through in Doha, Djoko Stumbles in Brisbane

The top 3 seeds at the Qatar Open, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, were all in action on Tuesday where they secured passage to the second round of the $1.1 million event in Doha.

Nadal almost double-bageled French veteran, Fabrice Santoro, in 46 minutes, while Federer and defending champion, Murray, also posted comfortable straight set wins over Potito Starace and Albert Montanes respectively.

Federer, who could have lost his number 2 spot in the rankings this week to Novak Djokovic, was cut some slack by the 3rd-ranked Serb, who crashed out of the Brisbane International first round earlier on Tuesday.

Djokovic fell to Latvian up-and-comer, Ernests Gulbis, 4-6, 4-6, which put a bump on the road to his Australian Open title defense preparations. The Serbian wonder however caught a break as he instantly received a wildcard invitation to the Sydney International event, so he can get a chance to get some matches under his belt prior to the Open.

"I'm very grateful to receive the wildcard to Sydney," said Djokovic.

"It was disappointing to lose in Brisbane but I now have another chance for more high quality matches in Sydney."

It's gotta be real cool to have people watch out for you like that. Strangers nonetheless!! Djokovic assured everyone he wasn't worried about his form and that he still has time to get ready for Melbourne.

"I am not panicking... The Australian Open is my highest goal for this part of the year and I really want to play well there... It's not the end of the world. It's the first match, so I'm not going to be pessimistic... I have a lot of time now to prepare for the Aussie Open."

Meanwhile, Gulbis, who is tipped by many to have a breakthrough season in 2009, managed to post his first win over his old friend, Djokovic, and will next face Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Now that Brisbane's top seed is out, second seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has all eyes on him. The 2008 Australian Open runner-up beat Agustin Calleri, 6-2, 7-5, to reach the second round.

Wednesday matches to check out:

Starting 2:00 pm Cairo time

Andy Murray vs Philipp Petzschner, followed by
Rafael Nadal vs Karol Beck, followed by
Roger Federer vs Andreas Seppi, followed by
Andy Roddick vs Arnaud Clement

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