Novak Djokovic eases into Doha quarter-finals — then stops for selfie with beaten opponent
Novak Djokovic eased through to the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open on Wednesday and was then shocked by opponent Horacio Zeballos who took a selfie of the pair on court.
The world No 2 won his second round match 6-3, 6-4 in just 72 minutes in Doha, thanks to a break of the Argentine’s serve in each set. But after the pair shook hands, Djokovic was taken by surprise.
“Making a selfie, that’s the first time I have had this experience in my career,” the Serb said. “Horacio — well done, very original.”
Djokovic is the defending champion in Doha and this year’s No 2 seed.
Rival and No 1 seed Andy Murray was pushed all the way by Austrian Gerald Melzer before prevailing 7-6, 7-5 in a match that had seven breaks of serve.
If the tournament goes to form, the pair will meet in their first clash of the season on January 7.
Earlier, Belgian fourth seed David Goffin, who beat Murray in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi last week, lost 6-1, 7-6 to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.
In Perth, Roger Federer’s return from a six-month injury layoff suffered a setback when German teenager Alexander Zverev shocked the Swiss great 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 in an entertaining Hopman Cup tie.
The 17-time grand slam winner underwent knee surgery last February and, after missing the French Open with a back injury, announced in July that he needed extensive rehabilitation and would be sidelined for the rest of the season.
Representing his country in the mixed team event, Federer beat Briton Dan Evans on Monday but he faced stiff opposition from Zverev, who enhanced his reputation by claiming his second win in three matches over the player many consider the greatest.
Federer served for the first set at 5-3 but the Zverev, 19, fought back and eventually rolled through the tie-breaker to claim the first set.
Federer, 35, took the second set in similar manner to force the decider but Zverev had the last laugh in the pulsating contest.
“To beat Roger, you really have to play an unbelievable match, from the first point to the last. I thought we both played really well,” Zverev said after putting Germany 1-0 up in the Group A tie.
“I always play unbelievably against him. It’s always nerve-racking to play against him. I always play in front of a big crowd which helps me a lot as well.”
World No 4 Stan Wawrinka began the new season with a straight-sets victory over Viktor Troicki in his Brisbane International debut.
Second seed Wawrinka edged out Troicki 7-6, 6-4 to maintain his perfect record against the Serbian whose seventh attempt at beating the Swiss failed at the Pat Rafter Arena.
“I’m quite happy with my level at the start the year,” Wawrinka said. “I think it was a good match, in general, for sure. A few up-and-downs with focus and my [shot] choice during the game, but it’s always tough to play against Troicki.”
Troicki was serving for the first set at 5-4 when Wawrinka scripted a turnaround.
The three-time grand slam champion took charge in the second when Troicki double-faulted at 4-4 and he clinched the contest to set up a quarter-final clash with Briton Kyle Edmund.
Third seed Kei Nishikori had to work harder to secure his quarter-final berth with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over American Jared Donaldson.
“His forehand was on fire — he was hitting a lot of winners from that side,” Nishikori said.
In the women’s section, world No 5 Dominika Cibulkova reached the quarter-finals with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win against Zhang Shuai.
Fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova recorded a 6-4, 6-3 win over Destanee Aiava.
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport
Published: January 4, 2017 04:00 AM