Doha, Qatar (SportsNetwork.com) - Former top-10 star Richard Gasquet and big- serving Croat Ivo Karlovic were among Monday's first-round winners at the season-opening $1.22 million Qatar Open.
The sixth-seeded Frenchman and 2013 Doha champion Gasquet handled Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-3, 7-5, while the seventh-seeded 6-foot-10 Karlovic launched 27 aces in subduing Czech Lukas Rosol 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 on the hardcourts at Khalifa International Tennis Complex.
Also on Day 1, Spanish left-hander Fernando Verdasco outlasted Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4); German Dustin Brown defeated Italian Paolo Lorenzi 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; Italy's Simone Bolelli took care of German Benjamin Becker 6-3, 7-6 (7-2); and Croat Ivan Dodig whipped Egyptian wild card Mohamed Safwat 6-3, 6-1.
This week's top seed is world No. 1 star Novak Djokovic, who will face fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic in the first round on Tuesday. The second seed here is former No. 1 and reigning champion Rafael Nadal, who missed the last few months of the 2014 season due to injuries.
Nadal, who beat France's Gael Monfils in last year's Doha finale, will face German qualifier Michael Berrer on Tuesday in his first match since October.
Doha serves as a tune-up for the Australian Open.