While women are slowly finishing their WTA middle-east swing campaign, the top males start two weeks double-header of tournaments with ATP 250 event in Doha.
Despite being just 250 category, the tournament venue is visited by many players from the top, having the names like Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger Aliassime, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev as a top seeds, with many other notable players in the main draw.
First days of the competition brought some great matches, where the top stars delivered high quality tennis and emotions. Andy Murray proves, that he is the specialist of tennis thrillers. The Scot received a wild-card for the tournament and got a quite challenging place in a draw to start, playing against Lorenzo Sonego in the first round. Both players shared two sets between them and the third one was needed for settlement. Murray was serving to stay in the match in 10th game of it, facing three breakpoints, being the match-points at the same time. The Grand Slam champion defended all of them really well and forced a decisive tie-break. Sonego started on the front foot, gaining two mini-breaks advantage and the lead 3-0 from the start. Then, the fighting spirit of Murray showed up again, as the Scot won 6 points in a row and advanced into another round with a score 4-6 6-1 7-6(4).
Another task for Murray did not seem to be any easier, as he needed to play against Alexander Zverev for a place in the quarterfinals. Zverev who still tries to reach out his level, coming back after last year's injury, was a slight favorite of this match. The German was close to take the opening set, but did not manage to serve it out in 10th game despite being a break up. Murray won the tie-break 7-5. Second set brought a dominant performance from Zverev who broke his opponent twice and won it 6-2. The German was still putting the pressure on Murray in the decider, creating two breakpoints in the opening games, but did not convert it. Sir Andy capitalized the moment of weakness from Zverev and gained a decisive break in 11th game, sealing the victory 7-6(5) 2-6 7-5 after 3:04 hours of battle. Zverev has a lot to regret here, as he produced 11 breakpoints to Murray's just 5, gained more breaks (4-3), and more single points in general (110-107). The fighting spirit of Murray overcame turned out on top again. It's quite a difficult comeback time for German, as he managed to win just 3 out of 9 matches this season, falling down in the rankings to 16th place right now.
The tournament's top seed - Andrey Rublev, could not be any closer to got eliminated from the tournament, as he was in today's match against Tallon Griekspoor. The world's number 5 was a clear favorite ahead of the duel against the Dutch, but Griekspoor who reached out the semifinal in his last week's home tournament in Rotterdam, crushed him 6-1 in the opening set. Second one was also one-sided, but it was Rublev who found his game and forced the decider. Both sets have lasted just 48 minutes. The decider was a different story, though. Griekspoor gained an early break and was serving for the victory in 9th game. The Dutch was 40-15 up and had a three chances to close the match within his own serve. Rublev managed to survive somehow and forced the tie-break. The 13th game was also tense, as Rublev needed 3 match-points to seal the victory, but made it, winning 8-6 at the end.
Felix Auger Aliassime has also needed three sets to avoid the upset. Jason Kubler won the first set against the Canadian, but the world's number nine came back well, winning the match 4-6 6-1 6-4 eventually. Daniil Medvedev started his Doha campaign in a good manner, with a routine win 6-4 6-3 against Liam Broady.