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Top-seeded Thiem wins opener in Qatar

Dominic Thiem of Austria returns the ball to Evgeny Donskoy of Russia during the first round of the ATP Qatar Open tennis competition in Doha on January 1, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / KARIM JAAFAR

DOHA, Qatar — Top-seeded Dominic Thiem started the year with a 7-6 (3), 6-3 first-round win over Evgeny Donskoy of Russia at the Qatar Open on Monday.

Thiem saved two set points in the first set.

“It’s nice to be top seeded,” the fifth-ranked Austrian said. “The season is going to be very long, and I hope that I can have a good start here.”

Seventh-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain beat Dudi Sela of Israel 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 after winning the last 10 games.

Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic withdrew on Saturday from the Qatar Open, his warm-up tournament for the Australian Open, after saying he still has pain in his right elbow.

Outbrain