Top seed Dominic Thiem is off and running at the Qatar Open, as he won his New Year’s Day match against Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy in straight sets.
The World No 5 did not have it all his own way in the match, however, with Donskoy making life particularly difficult for him during the 61-minute opening set.
But once the Austrian clinched the tie-break, he was able to ease to victory in the second set for a 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 victory.
Thiem, one of a handful of players hoping to kick on this year as the game’s traditional stars continue to battle injury and advancing age, fired more than 30 winners during the one-hour-and-39-minute contest.
The 24-year-old was installed as the tournament’s top seed following the withdrawal of Novak Djokovic, whose planned comeback was pushed back after a recurrence of his ongoing elbow injury.
Others to advance to the second round on Monday included Russian Andrey Rublev, Spaniard Fernando Verdasco and Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.