Djokovic, Nadal Cruise Into Doha QFs
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal compete straight sets wins
Novak Djokovic cruised into the Qatar ExxonMobil Open quarter-finals on Wednesday when the World No. 1 beat Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes. Djokovic, who also reached the last eight in 2015, extended his winning streak to 19 matches against left-handed opponents. He is bidding to capture his 60th tour-level title this week.
“I’m very pleased with the way I have started this season, with two matches in straight sets,” Djokovic said. “Tonight was tougher than the first round. Obviously I expected that. Verdasco is a former Top-10 player, somebody that has a lot of weapons in his game and who can create a lot of power from the forehand side. I wanted to take away the time from him. So I tried to mix it up. I served well in important moments.”
Djokovic goes onto face eighth seed Leonardo Mayer, who dropped just two of his first service points (26 of 28) in a 6-2, 6-4 win over Pablo Andujar. Djokovic beat Mayer in straight sets at the 2014 Australian Open.
“[Mayer] is a very intelligent tennis player,” Djokovic said. “He knows how to anticipate well on the court and serves very well, even though he has a very high toss, but he doesn't make too many double faults. His second serve is particularly good.”
Barely 90 minutes later, second seed and 2014 champion Rafael Nadal joined Djokovic in the quarter-finals. Nadal improved to 21-6 at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Robin Haase and will meet Andrey Kuznetsov on Thursday. Kuznetsov topped Ricardas Berankis 7-6(6), 6-1.
“I played at a very high level against a good opponent today,” Nadal said. “My serve was a little bit worse than yesterday, but in general I am happy with the victory and my level of tennis. I hit my returns with a lot of confidence.
“Kuznetsov is an aggressive player. I played against him at Roland Garros a couple of years ago, and he made some great shots. I hope I’ll be able to play at the same level as today.”
Kyle Edmund reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final with a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3) win over David Munoz de la Nava for a quarter-final clash against Tomas Berdych.
Afterwards in the tournament gym, Edmund admitted to ATPWorldTour.com, "I am happy to have gotten through to my first quarter-final. Before this tournament, I think I'd only played two tour-level matches. To come through qualifying and win two more has been the perfect start to the year. Tomorrow against Berdych, I will back myself to do the best I can. Obviously, it's going to be tough against a player who has been very consistent over the past five or six years."
Seventh seed Jeremy Chardy struck 12 aces and lost just five of his service points in beating fellow Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 6-4. He now plays Illya Marchenko, who beat Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 6-2.