Following the British success on the opening day of the Qatar Exxonmobil Open in Doha, Dan Evans was unable to join his compatriots Andy Murray and Liam Broady in the second round in Doha’s Kahalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.
Yes, he was giving me a tough time and he’s a great player. So but I’m very, very happy to get through this match, Emil Ruusuvuori
Unfortunately, the British number two, seeded sixth for the ATP 250 event, suffered an ankle injury as he was knocked out by Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 7-5 6-4.
The 32-year-old Evans broke Ruusuvuori to love in the opening game before twisting his right ankle as he delivered his first serve of the match and was consequently broken immediately.
The ankle was strapped during the changeover and he fought back from 5-3 down but was unable to turn the tables on the 23-year-old Finn, ranked 51 in the world.
“I thought I was improving and I was just playing better and better. Yes, he was giving me a tough time and he’s a great player. So but I’m very, very happy to get through this match,” said Ruusuvuori , who blasted seven aces past Evans.
“He’s a tricky player. He plays a little bit differently than most of the guys, let’s say, and in the top-50 or a hundred. And they have great slides, great tactics. And I just need to kind of figure out the way and serve well and put the pressure on him. And then yeah, in the end I was able to get the win,” the FinnishNo.1 said after the one-hour and 52-minute contest.
Also through on the second say is South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon who battled past Jordanian wildcard Abedallah Shelbayh, a Rafa Nadal Academy graduate, in three hard-fought sets. Kwon secured his second-round berth after winning 6-3 3-6 6-4 in one-hour and 54-minutes.
Kwon was pleased with his performance against the 19-year-old Shelbayh, the first player to represent Jordan in an ATP Tour or Grand Slam main draw event.
“I don’t know what to say now – I’m just really happy to win today. It was a tough match today because he (Shelbayh) played very well and then yeah, he had one or two poor shots. I don’t know how to say it but he put up a great fight,” Kwon said following his win. “I was disappointed to lose the second set, but I tried my best. I tried to enjoy the game and to be positive. Just want to play one game at a time.”
Eighth seed Botic van de Zandschulp of The Netherlands beat Ilya Ivashka of Belarus and eased into the second round of the 32-player field with a 6-2 7-5 win in 91-minutes.
In a shocking result for a former champion, French qualifier Alexandre Muller beat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili, the 2021 winner and last year’s finalist, 7-6(3) 6-7(8) 6-4 after two-hours and 38-minutes but the defending champion, Roberto Bautista Agut managed to squeeze through in three sets.
The 34-year-old Spaniard defeated Marton Fucsovics 7-6(7) 5-7 6-4 for his third win over the Hungarian in four meetings.