Thiem called his victory over Bedene “a perfect start into the new year.” AFP / KARIM JAAFAR
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World No. 5 Dominic Thiem eased through to the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open Wednesday, but the tournament is now guaranteed a nonseeded finalist because so many of the highest-ranked players crashed out. Thiem, the No. 1 seed, won his second-round match against Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in straight sets 7-5, 6-4, but said the contest was tougher than the scoreline suggested.The six other seeds have all been knocked out, even though the tournament has only reached the second round.Russia's Andrey Rublev, 20, beat veteran seventh seed Verdasco in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in a center court match.Rublev, the world No. 39, broke Verdasco in the ninth game of the final set, then saved two break points as he served out for victory.
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