Gasquet, Karlovic win Doha openers

Doha, Qatar ( – Former top-10 star Richard Gasquet and big-
serving Croat Ivo Karlovic were among Monday’s first-round winners at the
season-opening $1.22 million Qatar Open.

The sixth-seeded Frenchman and 2013 Doha champion Gasquet handled Spaniard
Pablo Andujar 6-3, 7-5, while the seventh-seeded 6-foot-10 Karlovic launched
27 aces in subduing Czech Lukas Rosol 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 on the hardcourts at
Khalifa International Tennis Complex.

Also on Day 1, Spanish left-hander Fernando Verdasco outlasted Russian
Teymuraz Gabashvili 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4); German Dustin Brown defeated Italian
Paolo Lorenzi 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; Italy’s Simone Bolelli took care of German
Benjamin Becker 6-3, 7-6 (7-2); and Croat Ivan Dodig whipped Egyptian wild
card Mohamed Safwat 6-3, 6-1.

This week’s top seed is world No. 1 star Novak Djokovic, who will face fellow
Serb Dusan Lajovic in the first round on Tuesday. The second seed here is
former No. 1 and reigning champion Rafael Nadal, who missed the last few
months of the 2014 season due to injuries.

Nadal, who beat France’s Gael Monfils in last year’s Doha finale, will face
German qualifier Michael Berrer on Tuesday in his first match since October.

Doha serves as a tune-up for the Australian Open.