The defending champion finished after midnight. Promising debut for the young Jordanian

Getty Images / Andy Cheung / Pictured: Roberto Bautista

Rafal Smolinsky

On Tuesday, the first round of the ATP 250 competition on hard courts in Doha, Qatar was completed. The main arena featured defending champion Roberto Bautista and promising 19-year-old wild card Abedallah Shelbayh.

Roberto Bautista is the winner of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open contest in 2019 and 2022. At this year’s event, he was seeded with the “five” and therefore needs to play from the first round. He first faced the very troublesome Marton Fucsovics. Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Spaniard was 2-1 against the Hungarian, and two of those games were interesting 300s.

Great emotions were also present when they met in Doha. In the opening match, Hungary squandered the break advantage, and in the tie-break they missed the set ball. In turn, in the second set, the Spaniard seemed closer to victory, but he did not get the key break, and in the 12th game the tennis player from Budapest successfully attacked.

It was therefore the third set, and precisely his seventh game, which decided the victory. Bautista pressed the return and scored a decisive break on his fifth chance. Finally, after three hours and 7 minutes, the defending champion beat Fucsovics 7:6(7), 5:7, 6:4. The meeting ended just after midnight local time. On Wednesday, the Spaniard will fight for the quarter-finals, and Australian Christopher O’Connell will stand in his way.

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On Tuesday, 19-year-old Abedallah Shelbayh made his main series debut in Doha. Just a few days ago, the young Jordanian showed his best side in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, where he reached the ATP Challenger Tour final. Thanks to this, he climbed to the 276th place in the world ranking, a career high.

Southpaw Shelbayh received a wild card from the Qatari event organizers and on his tour debut (as Jordan’s first representative) surprised Soonwoo Kwon. The Korean favorite lost the second set, and at the start of the tiebreak he saved himself from losing serve. In the end, the Jordanian couldn’t stand the pressure in Game 10 when he asked to stay in the game. He lost 3:6, 6:3, 4:6 and it is Kwon who will meet Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Wednesday.

On the courts of Doha on Tuesday, emotions were not lacking in other matches either. Tallon Griekspoor and Quentin Halys fought in three sets. The Frenchman proved better with a break, but it was the Dutchman who won two tie-breaks. Thus, he won 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5) and will be the rival of Russian seed Andrei Rublev on Wednesday.

There were also two tie-breaks in the duel between Alexander Muller and Nikołoz Basilashvili. The Frenchman wasted match points in the second set, but in the decisive slice he was better than the Georgian. He won 7:6(3), 6:7(8), 6:4 and will play against Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals. The Dutch beat Belarusian Ilya Ivashka 6:2, 7:5 in the first round.

Jiri Lehecka returned on tour after the success of the Australian Open 2023. The talented Czech reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne and then helped the national team win the Davis Cup for Portugal. In Doha, the representative of our southern neighbors beat the Bosnian Damir Dzumhur 6:3, 7:6(3) for the nomination. On Wednesday, his rival will be the Finnish Emil Ruusuvuori, winner with the Briton Daniel Evans 7:5, 6:4.

Qatar ExxonMobil OpenDoha, Qatar)
ATP 250, hard court, $1.377 million prize pool
tuesday february 21

1st singles round:

Tallon Griekspoor (Netherlands) – Quentin Halys (France) 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(5)
Jiri Lehecka (Czech Republic) – Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia & Herzegovina Q) 6-3, 7-6(3)
Emil Ruusuvuori (Finland) – Daniel Evans (UK, 6th) 7:5, 6:4
Alexandre Muller (France, Q) – Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia, LL) 7:6(3), 6:7(8), 6:4
Botic van de Zandschulp (Netherlands, 8) – Ilja Iwaszka 6-2, 7-5
Roberto Bautista (Spain, 5) v Marton Fucsovics (Hungary) 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-4
Soonwoo Kwon (South Korea) v Abedallah Shelbayh (Jordan, WC) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4

free prizes: Andrei Rublev (1); Felix Auger-Aliassime (Canada, 2); Daniel Medvedev (3); Alexander Zverev (Germany, 4)

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