DOHA, Qatar (AP) Top-ranked Andy Murray extended his winning streak to a career-best 25 matches by defeating Jeremy Chardy of France 6-0, 7-6 (2) in his first match of the year at the Qatar Open on Tuesday.
Murray clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking in his last match of 2016, winning a career-best ninth title by holding off long-time No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the ATP Finals championship match.
Murray, who won back-to-back Doha titles in 2008 and 2009, was greeted enthusiastically by the crowd when he took to the court.
One fan held up a handwritten sign, “Welcome to Doha Sir Andy,” referencing his recently being knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.
Murray won the opening set by posting only one unforced error and seven winners. In all, Murray had nine unforced errors and 18 winners.
The 69th-ranked Chardy settled into the second set, even managing to break Murray’s serve in the first game.
But from 2-2 in the second set tiebreaker, Murray reeled off five straight points to finish off the match.
Murray, who has beaten Chardy in nine of the 10 matches they have played, will face Gerald Melzer of Austria in the next round.
Fifth seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, playing in Doha for the first time since he won the title in 2012, ousted Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.
The win booked Tsonga a second-round outing against Dustin Brown of Germany.
HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer defeated Matthew Ebden 7-6 (2), 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the grass-court Gerry Weber Open on Friday.
Federer was made to work hard by Ebden, who saved five of the eight break points he faced and was leading 5-3 in the second set.
Federer, who saved two match points against Benoit Paire in the second round the day before, recovered to go 6-5 up and then broke Ebden to take his first match point for a meeting with American qualifier Denis Kudla.
Kudla earlier defeated Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 7-5 to book his semifinal place.
Federer, who won his 18th grass-court title in Stuttgart on Sunday, is just three match wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.
Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 19 including the Stuttgart title and last year’s titles in Halle and Wimbledon. He is bidding for a record-extending 10th trophy in Halle.
HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer survived two match points against Benoit Paire to reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win on Thursday.
Paire rallied after losing the first set to take the second, and the Frenchman defended two match points at 6-5 in the decider to force a tiebreaker. Eight minutes later, it was a match point for the 48th-ranked Paire, and again when a mistake from Federer left it 7-6 in Paire’s favor.
But the top-ranked Swiss took the next three points to close the match in just under two hours at the grass-court tournament.
Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 18 matches, including his titles in Stuttgart last week and at Halle and Wimbledon last year.
Federer skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row and is now just four wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.
Federer next faces Matthew Ebden of Australia, who upset former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Also Thursday, Borna Coric defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.
The Croat next faces either Florian Mayer or Andreas Seppi.