Rogi is very sweet!
Federer, Costa Advance in Doha
Roger Federer now meets fellow Swiss Michel Kratochvil in the second round.
Top seed Roger Federer struggled in his opening match of the 2003 season, but came through with a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4 victory over lucky loser, Andrei Stoliarov, who received a place in the main draw following Greg Rusedski’s withdrawal. The Swiss couldn't convert on two match points in the second set, but held tough in the third to advance to the second round at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2003.
No. 2 seed Albert Costa had a much simpler match, defeating Andrea Gaudenzi 6-3, 6-4. The biggest casualty of the day was No. 4 seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who fell to Spain's Fernando Vicente 6-2, 7-5. The Russian is always dangerous on hard courts, but he struggled with spotty results in 2002. Nevertheless, he ended the year on a high note, helping Russia claim the Davis Cup title.
What the players said:
“Obviously I would have preferred to have won in two sets and not risk losing in a third sets. I had two match points, I could have won in straight sets as well. Suddenly he held his serve, it went into a tie-break and it was 50-50. But it’s not getting to my head that I had to play three sets. I never lost my serve today, that’s good for my confidence.”
About playing Kratochvil on Wednesday
“It’s just more nerve wrecking to play a countryman. There’s a little bit of rivalry, I’m number one in Switzerland and I want to show that I’m still number one. He [Kratochvil] had a little bit of a disappointing season last year but I still think he’s a dangerous player. I’ll try to play my game, I want to do well here and win as many matches as I can.”
"I was playing well, I was feeling comfortable. The first match in a tournament is always difficult and playing the first match of the new season is extremely difficult."
“I never won a tournament on hard court. To win one is one of my goals of the year. I think it’s only mental.”
About playing Vinciguerra in the second round
“Tomorrow is another match, Andreas is a very good fighter. He’s a very good player, he’s dangerous, young and hungry. And he wants to win but I’m going to want the same on the other side of the net.”
“My leg was feeling ok. I think it was a matter of the lack of matches, I’ve hardly played a match for one and a half months. All I need is to practice a bit more. I can’t comeback after surgery and expect to play at the level I used to play at.”
Two of Morocco's top tennis stars, Hicham Arazi and Younes El Aynaoui, will meet up in second-round action in Doha on the first day of the new year. The No. 3 seed El Aynaoui is looking to win here in Doha for the second consecutive year. Last year, the Moroccan, who ended the year in the No. 22 spot of the ATP Champions Race, claimed a total of three titles (Casablanca and Munich, along with Doha). El Aynaoui goes into his second-round match with a slight edge, having defeated Arazi in their only previous meeting at the 2002 US Open.
In another battle of fellow compatriots, top seed Roger Federer takes on another rising Swiss Michel Kratochvil. The 21-year-old Federer, who came in sixth place in the ATP Champions Race 2002, has overcome the 23-year-old Kratochvil both times they've met.
No. 2 seed Albert Costa, who like Federer was one of the elite eight to play at the 2002 Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, meets qualifier Andreas Vinciguerra. This will be their first meeting.