Tuesday will see the WTA Qatar Total Open 2019 kick off with a number of eye-catching first-round matches at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha.
Ons Jabeur vs Carla Suarez Navarro
Head-to-head: First meeting
Jabeur and Suarez Navarro have both struggled for consistency so far in 2019 and neither have managed to string together two wins on the trot. As a result, this could be a match with a real lack of quality. But it should not be short of intrigue. Jabeur is guaranteed to get the full support of the local fans in Qatar and she is undoubtedly the best Arab female player on tour right now.
Suarez Navarro, meanwhile, is a former champion in Doha although that 2016 triumph now seems a long time ago. Jabeur possesses a very clever baseline game that could hurt the Spaniard. She had a strong run in the Kremlin Cup towards the tail end of last season, beating the likes of Stephens, Sevastova and Kontaveit en route to the final (lost to Kasatkina). Expect Suarez Navarro to struggle to impose herself in this match against a player who can outhit her.
Prediction: Jabeur in 3
Caroline Garcia vs Lesia Tsurenko
Head-to-head: First meeting
Caroline Garcia may have started the year in awful form, but she was instrumental in steering the French team into the semifinals of the Fed Cup last weekend, winning both of her singles rubbers. That could provide the momentum she needs to kick start her 2019 season. The same cannot be said of her opponent Lesia Tsurenko who has enjoyed a fine start to the year.
The Ukrainian reached the final in Brisbane and was just one game away from winning the title. However, she fell to a one-sided loss in the second round of the Australian Open at the hands of Amanda Anisimova. On paper Garcia is a slight favorite given her exploits in the Fed Cup and she will want to carry that form over to the tour events, starting in Doha.
Prediction: Garcia to win in 2
Karolina Muchova vs Caroline Wozniacki
Head-to-head: first meeting
Late entrant Caroline Wozniacki received a wildcard to compete at this event, where she has twice reached the final. But she has not managed to recapture her from the early months of 2018 when she reached the final in Auckland and won the Australian Open. However, she is still one of the best players in the world and this match feels like an opportunity to build some momentum heading into a busy schedule during the next few weeks.
Karolina Muchova has gone through three qualifying matches including two three setters, but she should be match sharp as a result. She is also more than capable of springing an upset, as evidenced by some notable victories last year against top 20 players. Wozniacki has had tough luck in Qatar over the years but that could all change this time. Expect the young Czech to cause the Dane plenty of problems, but for Wozniacki’s experience to ultimately prove the difference.
Prediction: Wozniacki in 3
Kiki Bertens vs Camila Giorgi
Kiki Bertens is on a roll at the moment. She has been steadily climbing up the rankings and could be on the verge of making a serious push towards entering the top five. But for that to happen she needs another strong showing to back up her recent success in St. Petersburg. Bertens will open her Qatar campaign against Italian Camila Giorgi, arguably the toughest unseeded first-round opponent. However, Giorgi does come into the match on the back of two singles defeats in Italy’s Fed Cup against Switzerland. The Dutchwoman on the other hand has had a full week of rest and that could be significant here.
Prediction: Bertens in 2
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