Images- Samer Al Rejjal
Three further seeded players departed from the Qatar ExxonMobil open in yet another day of shocks at the Khalifa tennis and squash complex.
Doha based Fernando Verdasco joined a host of seeded players to be kicked out of the competition losing in three sets to rising Russian star Andrey Rublev over three sets. The 20-year-old took the initiative in the first set winning 6-4. Seventh seed Verdasco hit back in the second winning 6-3 before Rublev, who is currently ranked 39th in the world broke his opponent in the seventh game of the third set and held his serve to win 6-4.
Eighth seed Feliciano Lopez was yet another top player to be dumped out of the Qatar ExxonMobil open, this time to Bosnian qualifier Mirza Basic who shocked the Spaniard in straight sets. Basic, who is ranked 138 in the world won the first set 6-4, and maintained his composure in the second, eventually winning 7-2 in the second set tiebreaker.
Borna Cornic, who dispatched with number two seed Pablo Carreno Busta only yesterday was the first competitor in the Quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-3 straight sets victory over Nokoloz Basilashvili. The 21-year old who has impressed so far in the tournament wasted little time in defeating the Georgian who is ranked 59 in the world in 1 hour and 14 minutes. Cornic will now take on fellow youngster Rublev for a chance to progress to the semi-finals.
Dominic Theim is the only seeded player in the competition and the 24-year old comfortably defeated Aljaz Bedene of Slovakia in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. Theim is the current number 5 in the world and will be aiming to go all the way to the final, especially with all of the other seeded players eliminated from the tournament.
Reflecting on his victory Theim admitted he was happy to win in just two sets."I'm pleased today. I'm through in straight sets. It was a tough match, but I expected it and had two tough matches which I both won in straight sets. So I think that's a perfect start to the new year."
Next up for Theim is Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitipas who put in a dominating display to knock out fifth seed and former Qatar Open finalist and fifth Richard Gasquet in straights sets 6-3, 6-4.
Tsitipas who is currently 91st in the world broke Gasquet in the sixth game of the first set and the 19-year-old didn't look back winning the set 6-3. Hitting 14 winners in the set in the process.
It was more of the same from the Greek number 1 in the second set as Tsitipas broke in the seventh game of the set and the Greek youngster served out the game eventually to win 6-4, to cap off a memorable evening for the Athens based player. After the shock win, Tsarinas revealed his joy at progressing to just his second ever ATP quarterfinals "It's absolutely fantastic, words cannot explain how I feel right now, I did not expect to make this start this year."
Gojowczyk will now face Gael Monfils who needed three sets to progress 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 against German youngster Jan Lennard Struff. Monfils overcame an ankle injury in the first set to win 6-1. In the second set, Struff who defeated third seed Thomas Berdych yesterday rallied and comprehensively beat his French counterpart 6-1.
Into the third and Monfils who has been in three Doha finals showed his class, breaking his opponent early eventually winning 6-3. The victory was Monfils 21st in Doha and after the game, he revealed his enjoyment at playing at the Qatar Open. "It's a big pleasure to come back here, it's always a good crowd and it's great to be here."