DOHA: Novak Djokovic took just 51 minutes to win his first game of 2016, easily beating Dustin Brown 6-2, 6-2 in the opening game of the Qatar Open on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
The world number one was rarely troubled by the German and barely raised a sweat, cruising into the second round with an ominous display for rivals looking for any early-season weaknesses from Djokovic after his dominant 2015.
“It was a very good start,” Djokovic told reporters afterwards.
He said he was untroubled by the blustery and relatively cold weather in Doha, with temperatures reaching 17 degrees Celsius (62 Fahrenheit).
“Considering the weather conditions and everything, I think it was a good performance from my side.
“I played a player who I never faced before and somebody who is a very charismatic guy and very good for tennis, for sport and somebody who is very unpredictable.
“He hasn’t served particularly well today, which I think has helped me.”
Djokovic said before the tournament started that he is in Doha to win and not merely play some warm-up matches before the defence of his Australian Open crown later this month.
And he certainly served notice of that, racing to a 5-0 lead in the first set in just 16 minutes.
Brown belatedly rallied, holding his serve for the first time in the sixth game and then breaking the Serb’s serve to make it 5-2.
The world number 118 then had two points to claim a third successive game but double-faulted twice, allowing Djokovic to claim the first set in just 25 minutes.
The second set followed a similar pattern as Djokovic, 28, swatted aside any potential resistance from Brown—who famously beat Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon last year—by breaking serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead.
That was pretty much the end of Brown, a qualifier for the tournament, and the contest.
The 31-year-old rarely threatened the Serb’s serve and it ended in sorry fashion as Brown delivered his fourth double fault of the night to end the match.
Djokovic, making his second appearance in Qatar, was watched on by coach Boris Becker, the first winner of the Qatar Open back in 1993.
There were also first round victories on Monday for France’s Jeremy Chardy, Robin Haase of the Netherlands, Bosnian Damir Dzhumhur and British qualifier Kyle Edmund.
Tuesday will see number two seed Nadal, Tomas Berdych, seeded three, and defending champion and number four seed David Ferrer all play their first round matches.
In the second round, Djokovic will play the winner of Fernando Vasco and Malek Jaziri, who play on Tuesday.