After a thrilling week of tennis at the Qatar Open, we are down to the last two women ahead of what promises be an excellent final, dominated by big hitting. But who will claim the title in Doha?
Qatar Open Final Prediction
Petra Kvitova vs Aryna Sabalenka
Head-to-head: Kvitova 2-1 Sabalenka
Both Petra Kvitova and Aryna Sabalenka come into the Qatar Open final having played some superb tennis in Doha. The Czech opened her campaign, after a first-round bye, with a hard-fought 4-6 6-3 6-0 win over Carla Suarez Navarro, who is to retire this year. Kvitova backed that up beating 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in three, before edging past Ons Jabeur in two tiebreak sets to reach the last four. There she scored an excellent win over world #1 Ashleigh Barty, beating the Australian 6-4 2-6 6-2.
Sabalenka, meanwhile, advanced to the second round courtesy of Iga Swiatek’s withdrawal where she battled past Anett Kontaveit, 7-5 2-6 7-5. That set up a third-round clash with Maria Sakkari and Sabalenka turned in a dominant performance to hammer the Greek 6-3 6-0. In the quarterfinals, she proved just too strong for the unorthodox Zheng Saisai, scoring a 6-3 6-7 6-3 win to book her place in the last four, where she dismissed the veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-4.
This has the feeling of a close contest. Both women will have reasons to feel confident heading into the match, with Sabalenka having made more swift progress through the draw, but Kvitova having overcome the more difficult tests. Both also have the power to hit through opponents, with plenty of winners to be expected. There has also been little between the pair so far in their head-to-head, with Kvitova and Sabalenka having split their last two meetings.
But where Kvitova may just have the edge is in her big match experience The Czech is, after all, a two-time Major champion having lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish in 2011 and 2014. Though she has not rediscovered her old consistency since returning from the hand injury sustained defending herself from a home invader, she remains a formidable foe on the big stage. Expect her to prove just too strong for Sabalenka.
Prediction: Kvitova in 3