• Nadal, Tsonga aim for Doha quarterfinal spots

    1/3/12 10:11 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal, Tsonga aim for Doha quarterfinal spots Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will contest their second-round matches on Wednesday in Doha. They are set for respective meetings with Denis Gremelmayr and Flavio Cipolla.

    (1) Rafael Nadal vs. (Q) Denis Gremelmayr

    Nadal kicked off his 2012 campaign with a hard-fought 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber in round one of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Tuesday. The second-ranked Spaniard will hope to get off the court in quicker fashion when he goes up against Gremelmayr for a second time on Wednesday. Their only previous encounter came in the Barcelona semis four years ago, with Nadal dominating 6-1, 6-0.

    Gremelmayr will have a better chance of testing Nadal on a hard court, and his season is already off to a flying start. The 189th-ranked German, who won only four matches at the ATP level in 2011, qualified for the Doha main draw then crushed Potito Starace 6-3, 6-2 in round one. Just as Nadal ended Gremelmayr's run on the clay courts of Barcelona, the top seed should do the same without any trouble.

    Flavio Cipolla vs. (3) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

    Like Nadal, Tsonga also had to battle through his first-round match on Tuesday. The third-seeded Frenchman survived Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-1 in two hours and 19 minutes to find the win column in 2012. Tsonga is looking to maintain momentum from a strong end to last season in which he finished runner-up to Roger Federer in Paris and at the World Tour Finals.

    Up next for Tsonga in Doha is a first-ever meeting with Cipolla, who double-bageled wild-card entrant Jabor Al Mutawa of Qatar on Monday. Cipolla won just five ATP-level matches last season but he registers at 75th in the world rankings thanks to solid results on the Challenger circuit. The 5'8'' Italian will make his opponent work hard, but Tsonga in straight sets is the pick.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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