Doha-Tennis icon and Grand Slam star Roger Federer of Switzerland on Wednesday battled through a gritty performance against Daniel Evans of Great Britain to make a winning return after a layoff that stretched to 405 days.
Federer won 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 in 2 hours and 26 minutes. It was Federer’s first match since losing the Australian Open semifinal against Novak Djokovic of Serbia in January last year. It was Federer’s fourth win over Evans in as many matches. Both players have been training partners in the last few weeks. Federer, 39, fired 13 aces while Evans produced 9.
Top seed Dominic Thiem of Austria on Wednesday battled from a set down to beat Aslan Karatsev of Russia. Thiem, the current US Open champion, won 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 in almost two hours of feisty tennis. It was the first meeting between the two players. Thiem, playing his 24th event as a top seed, is looking to add to his 17 career titles and better his semifinal performance in Doha in 2018.
Also on Wednesday, defending champion Andrey Rublev also reached the quarterfinals of the popular tournament when his opponent and former winner Richard Gasquet of France pulled out of the clash with a leg injury. Gasquet, 34, won the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in 2013. Rublev, 23, last year won the Qatar title without dropping a set.
In a match involving two Canadians, fourth seed Denis Shapovalov on Wednesday showed grit in the first set to beat Vasek Pospisil in straights sets. Shapovalov won 7-5, 6-4 in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Shapovalov fired 7 aces in the battling contest between two Canadians. Shapovalov is now 2-1 against Pospisil in career meetings.
Another former Qatar champion, Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain also reached the quarterfinals by beating Alexander Bublik in straight sets. Bautista Agut, winner in 2019, won 6-4, 6-3 to reach the last-eight of the tournament.
In an entertaining match, American Taylor Fritz on Wednesday beat Belgium’s David Goffin 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 in 2 hours and 37 minutes. Both players are now tied at 1-1 in career meetings.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee