After weeks of exhilarating tennis Down Under, the WTA Tour is now moving to Doha, Qatar. Qatar Open 2021 set to host several big names in women’s football, including defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and finalist from last year Petra kvitova.
The top 10 players Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova also play in a highly competitive field. With the main draw action set to begin on Monday, here’s a look at the perspectives of the biggest names in the scrum.
First half: Big names seek to topple defending champion Aryna Sabalenka
Semi-final expected: Elina Svitolina vs. Aryna Sabalenka
Analysis: Seeded Elina Svitolina was left goodbye in the first round but could face the big strike Amanda Anisimova in the round of 16. The Ukrainian had indeed fallen against Anisimova at the same stage of this tournament last year, and will participate in the competition seeking to avenge this defeat.
Svitolina’s planned quarterfinal opponent will likely be decided by Svetlana’s outcome Kuznetsova against Victoria Azarenka first round match. Azarenka has done well here in the past, and a good win in the opener could boost her confidence.
Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka is also in the top half of the draw. Belarusian should be tested in the first step as she risks facing Garbine Muguruza – provided that the Spaniard can first take care of Veronika Kudermetova in good shape.
The Sabalenka section appears to be the most competitive, with Maria sakkari, Madison Keys and Belinda Bencic also featured here. The three women, alongside Mayar Sherif, will compete for the coveted eighth place.
Semi-final planned: Elina Svitolina vs. Garbine Muguruza
Black Horse: Victoria Azarenka
Bottom half: Czech duo of Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova lead the pack
Expected semi-final: Petra Kvitova vs. Karolina Pliskova
Analysis: Third seed Petra Kvitova is set to open her campaign against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who is expected to register a victory against a qualifier in the first round.
Kvitova is looking to recover from a slow start to the season in Australia, where she struggled to find her lineup behind first serve. The Czech has had her share of success in Qatar, but will need to find quick answers to the issues currently plaguing her game.
open from Australia finalist Jennifer brady, meanwhile, faces Anett kontaveit in a difficult first round. The winner of this match will imagine their chances in a possible second round against Angelique Kerber, who is still looking to find his place after a few bad seasons.
Ons Jabeur will have huge crowd support in Qatar. The Tunisian is reportedly looking to replicate her run from last year, where she advanced to the quarter-finals with thwarted wins over Jennifer Brady and Karolina Pliskova.
Jabeur could also face Pliskova in the second round of the tournament this year. And given the Czech’s recent form, a repeat of the annoyance is definitely on the cards.
Planned semi-final: Petra Kvitova vs. Ons Jabeur
Black Horse: Jennifer Brady
Notable matches of the first round
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Victoria Azarenka
Veronika kudermetova against Garbine Muguruza
Madison Keys vs. Belinda Bencic
Jennifer Brady vs. Anett Kontaveit