A star-studded field featuring 13 of the Top 14 players in the world descends on Doha, Qatar this week for the Premier-level Qatar Total Open.
The Qatari capital’s ultra-modern Khalifa International Tennis Complex has hosted the prestigious tournament since the turn of the millennium all the way back in 2001, and that’s not all – it was the venue for the season-ending WTA Championships for three years from 2008 to 2010, as well.
The world’s Top 4 – Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska – are the Top 4 seeds, and they’ll all have some tough tests en route to their projected semifinal spots.
Azarenka is fresh off defending her Australian Open title, and now she’ll try to defend her Doha title. After a first round bye, the No.1-seeded Belarusian will open against either Tsvetana Pironkova orRomina Oprandi, with a projected third round encounter against a player who has given her a lot of trouble in the past, No.14 seed Dominika Cibulkova. No.6 seed Sara Errani looms in the quarterfinals.
After suffering through a few separate injuries during the fortnight, Williams’ Aussie Open run came to an end in the quarterfinals; she still comes into Doha on some very strong momentum however, winning 56 of her last 59 matches and already winning a Premier-level title this year in Brisbane. Seeded No.3, she opens against Anabel Medina Garrigues or a qualifier, with No.15 seed Roberta Vinci her projected third round opponent and No.7 seed Petra Kvitova potentially awaiting in the quarterfinals.
The No.3-seeded Sharapova’s path to the semis is scheduled to go through No.16 seed Sloane Stephens in the third round and No.8 seed Sam Stosur or No.9 seed Marion Bartoli in the quarters.
The No.4-seeded Radwanska’s path includes No.13 seed Ana Ivanovic in the third round and either No.5 seed Angelique Kerber or No.10 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarters, though there’s a big unseeded threat looming in her quarter as well – Mona Barthel, potentially Kerber’s second round opponent, is fresh off her first Premier title and held match point against Radwanska the last time they played.
The only player in the Top 14 not playing in Doha is World No.5 Li Na, who had to withdraw from the event due to a left ankle injury originally suffered in the Australian Open final against Azarenka.
And the No.1 ranking could also change hands in Doha – watch this space for more in the coming days.
Visit WTA Tennis’ website to know more!