Djokovic into Qatar quarters

The Serb was at his fluent best in beating the Ukrainian 6-2 6-1 to reach the last-eight, avoiding a potential banana skin against his opponent, who is best known for upsetting Roger Federer at Wimbledon 18 months ago.

Djokovic was pleased that, after saving three break back points in the seventh game, he found more rhythm and started dominating an opponent whose penchant for net attacks can often be disruptive.

“From that moment on it felt a different match,” Djokovic said. “I felt I was more swinging through the ball on the court and playing more confidently.”

It earned him a meeting with seventh seed Ivo Karlovic, whose 17 aces during a straight sets win over Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili increased his career total to 9,041.

That is the most aces of any active player and leaves Karlovic only 33 behind Andy Roddick, the former US Open champion, whose total is the second highest all time.??

Karlovic’s longer-term aim is to beat the all-time record of 10,183 held by his Croatian compatriot Goran Ivanisevic.

“How do you think I feel?” said Djokovic, his animated response to the impending match-up with Karlovic causing laughter.??

“I’m definitely going to try to get some sleep so my reaction tomorrow is quick, because I’m going to need it.”

Djokovic also earned another high profile meeting with the man he was supposed to face in Saturday’s singles final, Rafael Nadal.

That is because Nadal, who suffered an extraordinary first round defeat to qualifier Michael Berrer on Tuesday, responded by reaching the doubles semi-finals with Juan Monaco of Argentina.

Their 6-2 3-6 10-6 win over Benjamin Becker of Germany and Artem Sitak of New Zealand brought a meeting with Djokovic and his compatriot Filip Krajinovic, who overcame the third-seeded Colombian pair Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-3 7-5.

The man most likely to reach the final from the other half of the draw may well be the winner of the clash between Richard Gasquet, the sixth-seeded Frenchman who won the title in Doha two years ago, and Tomas Berdych, the third-seeded former Wimbledon finalist from the Czech Republic.

Gasquet, who is hoping for better fitness after a disappointing 2014, certainly looked in good shape during a 6-3 6-2 win over Simone Bolelli, the world No 52 from Italy.

Berdych eased past Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia 6-1 6-2 while fourth seed David Ferrer defeated Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-2.