Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic Ease Into Doha QFs; Stan Wawrinka A Winner In Chennai
by Staff | January 6th, 2016, 5:38 pm
  • 36 Comments

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both had no trouble advancing to the Doha quarterfinals, losing just nine games combined. Nadal lost just five in a 6-2, 6-3 romp against Robin Haase.

“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.”

Nadal won the Doha title two years ago, his last crown on hardcourts.

Djokovic crushed Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2 as the Serb seeks his first Doha title.

“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.”

Tomas Berdych and Jeremy Chardy were also winners.

On Thursday, Nadal faces Andrei Kuznetsov while Djokovic meets Leonardo Mayer. Berdych battles young Brit Kyle Edmund.

“[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.”

In Chennai, 2-time defending champion Stan Wawrinka opened his 2016 season beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-2. Young Borna Coric was also a winner Wednesday.

THURSDAY DOHA SCHEDULE
[7] J. Chardy (FRA) vs I. Marchenko (UKR)
A. Kuznetsov (RUS) vs [2] R. Nadal (ESP)
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [8] L. Mayer (ARG)
[3] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [Q] K. Edmund (GBR)


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36 Comments for Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic Ease Into Doha QFs; Stan Wawrinka A Winner In Chennai

Okiegal Says:

STAFF……..What time does the first match start?
Thanks!


NOSCA Says:

@Okiegal 7:30AM EST


Okiegal Says:

THANKS NOSCA…….appreciate your post! I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning…..I might just have to cancel so I can watch Rafa! LOL


Daniel Says:

They are on a collision course once again, unless Berdych (haha) or Chardy could stop them in semis. Chardy with serve and FH could trouble Nadal if on a row, but nothing more than 1 set. Think their start with a bang and a match to uneven that HxH.


mat4 Says:

The surface seems fast, and the weather seems very windy. In best of two, I can see both Berdych and Chardy winning, although a faster surface and a bit of wind suits more Djokovic than Berdych. Chardy has tremendously improved last year, and although his backhand remains a relative weakness, I guess he has chances here, but Rafa remains still the favourite. Let’s not forget, finally, that Chardy hasn’t made the semi yet.

I would like a Rafole final — the past has shown us that certain patterns, when clearly established, don’t change any more. It’s likely that Novak will win 80% of their encounters in the future, and a victory here could be important before the AO. Rafa has regained his form, and it’s important for Novak to avoid a surprise not only at the AO, but at Roland Garros too. He has to built on his previous victories.

Of course, a positive H2H would mean that, clearly, he’s the GOAT, since Rafa has a positive H2H against Roger. It’s just like lineal champion in boxing. It would once again confirm that both Federer and Nadal played in weak eras, Federer from 2004-06, while Nadal won a lot on clay, where there was no great champions, clay specialists any more, and where his greatest rivals were fast hard courts and grass specialists (let’s not forget that Federer and Djokovic won 10 Wimbledon titles together, and while Fed accomplishments are well known, let’s just remind that Djokovic played 7 semis, 4 finals — in fact, he’s equal to JMac; they also won 11 WTF combined, on fast hard).

Just kidding.


Chrisford1 Says:

Rafa fans have to be heartened by his better play. How Rafa will fare in 2016 awaits the big test – how he does against Novak. Here’s hoping they have some more great matches together – as long as Nole wins the bulk of them and gets Roland Garros – I’m good!

Jim Chardy (like Benoit, Monfils, Tsonga, Simon, Gasquet) is a fun player to watch. Must be something in the water in France.

That Novak Djokovic enters 2016 having drawn level and now in a dead heat with Roger 22-22 and Rafa 23-23, in 2 great rivalries that are the most often played in the Open Era – is remarkable!! It won’t be a dead heat much longer. Maybe Rafa or Fed or even both can stave off Djokovic and keep their positive H2Hs – but unlikely, very unlikely – IMO.


mat4 Says:

CF1:

I was mostly joking in the last paragraph, but nonetheless, at this age the relation is very unlikely to change. Since the season is very long, draws uneven, it’s evident that Novak won’t win all his matches against Rafa — but at their peak, now that the “Chatrier” spell is broken, I don’t give much of a chance to Rafa.

Their respective games — if Rafa doesn’t change anything drastically, and he won’t, it’s quite clear now — make me think it, too, not only the results. Although Novak plays with a safety margin, his shots are very heavy — and the improvements of his racquet two years ago helped him hit an even heavier ball. With his changes with the serve, the FH, the transition game, the margin is larger now.


Wog Boy Says:

mat4,

I know you are not talking to me anymore, but I hope you are enjoying “pečeno prasence” today same way as I am enjoying it.


Gypsy Gal Says:

HI Mat4 not sure how much of your posts i agree with,but just wanted to say that i hope you had a fantastic christmas,and wanted to wish you A HAPPY NEW YEAR ;)….


Daniel Says:

Agree Mat4, i thibk from now on only a Novak on a bad day provides a chance for Nadal.
In the mean time, Chardy losing forat set 0-4 and Ilya serving for 5-0.


AndyMira Says:

Rafa has just made his life difficult by losing the 2nd set to kuznetsov..he should close the match in 2 sets..but as his pattern now..couldn’t do it..man..be still my heart!


Daniel Says:

If he is struggling in 3 sers versus this guys he ain’t making 5 games in a ser agaisnt Djokovic. 1 more match and another final.
Now onto Djoko and than Berdych and see if they will keep great form so far.


mat4 Says:

@WB:

I am forbidden to eat fats. Will quite smoking soon, too.

Anyway, my family is enjoying Christmas, although the piglet has been roasted so bad that I believe that only a sabre-teeth tiger could eat it.

Merry Christmas, WB.

BTW, Rafa just beat Kuznetsov in three. I was afraid he would lose because I want No1e to take the lead in the H2H.

It’s interesting that, nowadays, everybody knows how to play against Nadal. He’s in good form, but his weaknesses are so obvious, that every single player on the tour feat on them.


mat4 Says:

Hi, GG. Yes, I feel OK. I hope that you’re OK too, and I wish you all the best for this year — even in tennis, where Rafa could finish no 2 or 3, winning Madrid, Valencia and Bogota.

About Rafa: c’est de bonne guerre. It’s just like when you want different winners in slams, let’s say AO — Rafa, RG — Rafa, WB — Rafa, and OK, he doesn’t have to win it all, USO — Rafa but Basel — Nishikori and the Olympics Andy, for good ‘ol Albion.

I knew you would rea


mat4 Says:

Sorry, my bad.

I knew you would react. ;-)


Daniel Says:

Djoko losing first 7 points, odd.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 im not OK as ive had Bronchitis for about a month now since my birthday,and im coughing that much its making me sick,i have a headache and a mountain of course work to get through before the 20th,anyway sorry enough whining,Rafa won and at the moment im not thinking about Novak only thingy whatsit or the guy that beat Chardy,or anything else other that AO,RG,W,USO,Olympic Gold,only the here and the now,and getting rid of this damn bug,bet your sorry you asked now LOL,SORRY IM A BIT GRUMPY at the moment….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 as for the year personally, well Clive and i are getting married this year,or rather re-married with a handfasting,hands tied together with red ribbon,performed by a high priestess,im looking forward to that more than anything else this year….


Chrisford1 Says:

Mat4 – Agree with your list of recent improvements. His intermediate transition game is now impressive. He rarely makes a bad call on to come to net or not, always seems to be in the right position. Needs work in some net volleys and sometimes has this tendency to volley it right back where his foe has stopped and is standing.
Serve, running forehand, short chop-punch forehand, and heavier forehand from the baseline. With no loss of serve % or consistency issues with a more versatile forehand selection.
I would add that Boris has him trying out block returns, with one-handed backhands to reach a little further on the ad court out-wide. Novak actually gets aced more than Fed on 1st serve because he didn’t try a block before, wanting to do more. Boris knows a block is better than being aced. Not ready for prime time, but it is being practiced.
I’d be interested in how the new physio on top of Sasha, the German Stefan Duell will work out, and what player Nole’s camp wants to “solve”. I think it is Stan. Stan has been serious trouble for Nole at Slams since their epic 2013 4th Round battle at the AO.


lapinroyal Says:

@WB, Mat
Merry Christmas!


mat4 Says:

CF1:

He doesn’t change his grip and doesn’t open his racquet head enough, especially on the forehand.

I watched his matches in Doha, and he didn’t make a single volley right. IMO, it’s usually the sign that one has worked this area of the game a lot recently.

But I would really like to see him unleashed more his shots, the way he did in Beijing in the first rounds.


mat4 Says:

Hi, Lapin! Merry Christmas to you too! Although mine was two weeks ago, but I guess today it’s also my Christmas.


Daniel Says:

Meyer serving for second set 5-4. Let’s see if he feels the pressure. Novak definetly has the game to break and if he does so, pretty sure he wins in 2.


Daniel Says:

And he breaks. Now time to finish this match and avoid an extra set.


mat4 Says:

Great finish.


Wog Boy Says:

I can’t believe stats that Nole won zero second serves in the first set!


Wog Boy Says:

mat4,

Thanks, we adopted you so it is your Christmas too, aren’t you blessed?:)


Giles Says:

I find it a bit creepy that Boris Becker deems it necessary to watch Rafa practice


Wog Boy Says:

lapinroyal,

Thanks very much.


lapinroyal Says:

If iadopted all the holidays, I won’t be working much… ;-)
(WB I saw that stat, for one of the best second serve… I’m :shock: someone please give me a drink!)


Sarah Says:

watching Berdych vs Edmund now. Nole will have an easy match tomorrow.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Berdych has a crap record against Novak,its been 3 years since he last beat him,theres nothing to suggest tomorrow would be any different,pretty much a foregone conclusion….


Sarah Says:

I am pretty sure Who will be in the final;) Do not have to say it


Gypsy Gal Says:

Its just a question of who he will meet,and have the privalege of having their backsides kicked i expect….


Sarah Says:

Well, Who knows.?..Nole was not briliant today


Daniel Says:

Watch tiebreak and Djoko made some nice shots, plus his BH seems to have even more weight than usual.
Straight sets win for him tomorrow.

Congrats for another final, 16th straight dating back to AO 2015, remarkable. He played all finals in all last 16 tournaments he entered. How many more will he reaches?!

Tomorrow going for title #60 and Nadal after #68. By the pace Djoko is right now he could end this year either tied or higher than Nadal with number of titles.

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