Top seed Juan Lebron of Spain and compatriot Alejandro Galan on Wednesday beat Argentina’s Cristian Gutierrez and Finland’s Daniel Windahl to advance on Day Three of the Ooredoo Qatar Major 2022. Lebron and Galan won 6-3, 6-4 in 71 minutes at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex, the home of tennis in Qatar since 1993.
“It is a strong competition. All matches are very difficult,” Lebron said yesterday. “It was a tough battle against them. We had to play with great level of concentration,” he added.
“I have to say we are enjoying ourselves here. The organisation in Doha is top-notch. We have been accorded every level of comfort we could possibly think of,” Lebron said.
Third seed Alejandro Ruiz of Spain and his Argentine partner Franco Stupaczuk yesterday continued with their winning form when they beat Ivan Ramirez and Alejandro Arroyo in straight sets. Ruiz and Stupaczuk won 6-3, 7-6 in 86 minutes.
Also yesterday, 11th seed Brazil Lucas Campagnolo and Spain’s Javier Garrido knocked out fifth seed Pablo Lima of Brazil and Maximiliano of Argentina in three sets. Campagnolo and Garrido won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in 102 minutes. “The match was not easy. I would say it was close but we advanced as we fought really well,” Campagnolo said.
He said: “I am very happy to be in Doha. This event has a special atmosphere. The tournament is successful in all respects.”
Sixth seed Fernando Belasteguin of Argentina and Arturo Coello of Spain emerged easy winners against Spanish duo of Jorge Nieto and Miguel Yanguas 6-1, 7-5 in 92 minutes.
Unseeded Francisco Navarro of Spain and Argentina Martin Di Nenno beat Spain’s Manuel Gil Francisco and Agustin Gomez Silingo of Argentina 6-1, 6-2 in 59 minutes. In an all-Spanish battle, ninth seed Javier Rico and Jeronimo Gonzalez beat compatriots Igancio Vilarino and Jose Gonzalez 6-2, 6-1 in 51 minutes. Luciano Capra (Argentina) and Javier Ruiz (Spain) beat Argentine pair Ramiro Moyano and Juan Belluati 6-3, 6-4 in 77 minutes. Meanwhile Qatari player Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari yesterday said Qatar hosting the Ooredoo Qatar Major 2022 is a step in the direction to boost the popularity of padel in the country.
Al-Kuwari said the standard of international players is high whereas Qatar started playing the sport only four years ago. “Despite my loss in the first match, the result does not reflect the good performance of me and my partner,” al-Kuwari said in an interview. “We hope to appear better in the upcoming events around the world because our team qualified for the World Championship and we have won the Gulf Cup. The padel sport in Qatar is witnessing a great surge in popularity and development of young players. And remember we started playing the sport only four years ago, but what is good to note is the game is spreading fast around the country.”
Jabor al-Mutawa another Qatari player, said: “I am proud to be one of the home players participating in this championship that is being held for the first time in Qatar. I am very happy to represent my country.”
He added: “We are in the process of gaining experience in this sport because we are still new to the game while there are players participating in the tournament who have been playing padel for many years.”
He added: “Playing against top players is helping us develop our game in so many different levels. We are battling to reach the best level but we will keep trying. We have the Gulf Championship in Dubai next week. We won the first championship in Qatar and we are determined to win Gulf Cup in Dubai.”
Qatar player Mohamed al-Khanji said: “It is a great honour to compete in this event and that too against top international players. We are pleased to represent Qatar at the global level. I wish our youth or the next generation gain in experience and develop their game. We have to develop ourselves more and go to overseas training camps. Right now we are preparing for the Gulf Championship that will be held in the UAE next week.”