Rivalry lovers will see next week’s Qatar Total Open as the potential exists for the first Sharapova vs Wozniacki match since 2015.
Halep seeks to Bounce Back from Aussie Open Final Disappointment
Former World #1 and “Slam-nearly” Simona Halep adds spice and flavour to the tournament. The doomsayers are already pouncing on the latest Slam near miss – saying she’ll never win one. That seems a contentious standpoint and completely misses the fact that Halep has shown increasing steel and bite of late.
A WTA title and a Slam final appearance already this year, along with her earning of the World #1 slot last year, shows that the Romanian is turning a corner. With the French Open looming on the horizon, Halep will be keen to wind down her initial hard court season in momentum-building fashion. Arguably, she is still the one to beat in Doha and Roland Garros.
Wozniacki Aims to go one Better in Qatar this year
A painful loss to Karolina Pliskova in last year’s final will still hurt the Dane, despite her recent achievements. Last season was scattered with defeats in finals–a trend Wozniacki started to buck towards the end of it.
A repeat of the Australian Open 2018 final could be on the cards–alongside a much awaited chance for the happy-go-lucky Dane to eat into the 4-6 head-to-head deficit that hangs over her against Sharapova.
Sharapova and Azarenka grab wildcards
Another tournament, another wildcard for Maria Sharapova. This time, arguably, it is justified. The Russian has won this particular tournament twice before and is in line for a diamond ball trophy should she be able to win this tournament for a third time.
The return of Victoria Azarenka adds some experienced spice to the line-up. The Belorussian will be back with new coach Slava Konikov as she seeks to make a successful comeback. This is after a custody-battle- absence. The game has missed Azarenka, and many will be routing for her in Doha.
Vera Zvonereva scored a great victory over the Australian Open 2018 surprise package Su-Wei Hsieh in her opening qualifier. The former World #2 will be focused on dispatching Yuan Duan in the next qualifier and making inroads into the main draw, something she has done well through her career.
Other notable qualifying performances include World #48 American Catherine Bellis’ double bagel win over Al-Naimi. Bellis could be a dangerous floater in the main draw. Spectators will be thrilled to bits at the prospect of some “Petko-dancing” this week. The Bosnian born, German national Andrea Petkovich comfortably put Xinyun Han to the sword in their qualifier.
Muguruza is an Interesting Addition to line-up
Beset by injury this season, former World #1 Garbine Muguruza will be looking to Qatar to get her season back on track. Injury or no injury, her 2nd round Australian Open loss to Hsieh was a surprise to many.
A great week of women’s tennis is a given with this strong line-up.