© Qatar ExxonMobil Open

Alexander Bublik converts three of five break points to beat Adrian Mannarino at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Monday.

Bublik Earns Doha Debut Win; Tiafoe/Wawrinka Team Up

Verdasco, Moutet also through in straight sets

Alexander Bublik marked his Qatar ExxonMobil Open debut with a notable victory on Monday, defeating seventh seed Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round.

The 22-year-old landed 10 aces and broke Mannarino on three occasions at the 2019 ATP 250 Tournament of the Year. Bublik enters the 2020 ATP Tour season after a breakout campaign last year, highlighted by runner-up finishes at the Hall of Fame Open and the Chengdu Open.

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The Kazakh will face Aljaz Bedene for a spot in the quarter-finals, following the Slovenian’s 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 comeback win against 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Mikael Ymer.

Fernando Verdasco needed 89 minutes to book his place in the second round, battling past fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-3. The 2017 semi-finalist will meet sixth seed Filip Krajinovic, who rallied past Kyle Edmund 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

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“I'm happy with the way that I played,” said Verdasco. “I still think that I can play a little bit better… But in general, I'm happy with the way that I played the whole match.”

Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Corentin Moutet also started their 2020 ATP Tour seasons with wins. Chardy defeated countryman Gregoire Barrere 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to set a second-round clash with top seed Stan Wawrinka. Moutet saved each of the seven break points he faced to move past Tennys Sandgren 7-6(3), 6-4. He will next meet fourth seed Milos Raonic.

Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, who finished his 2019 season by reaching the semi-finals at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, opened with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Australian Jordan Thompson. The 20-year-old will play 2012 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the quarter-finals. 

Tiafoe/Wawrinka Join Forces For First-Round Win
The top two singles seeds, Wawrinka and Andrey Rublev, got their seasons underway with a first-round meeting on the doubles court. Wawrinka, partnering Frances Tiafoe, defeated Bublik and Rublev 6-3, 7-6(6). Tiafoe and Wawrinka, who are teaming up for the first time, saved a set point in the second-set tie-break. 

"I didn’t play matches since the end of the season, so for the first tournament, it’s quite good to play some doubles also – to have more matches, play more points, spend a lot of time on the court playing points," said Wawrinka. "And I enjoy playing doubles... Frances is a good friend. We practise a lot together, so it’s going to be fun to play together."

In other doubles results, No. 2 seeds Henri Kontinen and Franko Skugor dismissed wild cards Malek Jaziri and Rashed Nawaf 6-3, 6-1, while third seeds Rohan Bopanna and Wesley Koolhof defeated Italians Marco Cecchinato and Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-2. 

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