While the ATP first staged a tournament in Qatar in 1993, the Qatar Tennis Federation did not launch what is now known as the Qatar Total Open in Doha until 2001, as the popularity of women’s tennis was starting to take off in the country.
In its 15th year, the Qatar Total Open sure did not dissapoint! The tournament hosted 40 of the most elite women’s tennis player with seven of the world’s top 10 women’s singles players and a prize pool of US $700,000!
With the Miami Open taking centre stage this March, let’s get the tennis fever started by taking a recap at some of the best moment of the WTA Qatar Total Open.
The field at the Qatar Open 2017 was so strong that former world No.1, Jelena Jankovic had to play in the qualifying! Currently ranked No.52, the last time she played in the qualifying was in Filderstadt way back in October 2004. She was only 19 years old back then (32 years old this year). Fortunately for the Serb, she managed to pull through qualifying with three solid wins to make it to the Main Draw of the tournament. Jankovic ended her campaign at Qatar with a first round finish for both singles and doubles category.
The Qatar Open 2017 in a nutshell was… a very wet week! Torrential downpours wrecked the tournament, pretty much wiping out all matches scheduled on the second day. Of the 11 matches scheduled, only one managed to finish. And it took a whooping seven hours to complete because of the constant rain breaks. As a result, some players had to play two matches a day to make up for the two days of canceled matches. It may be winter there but the wet and cold weather is thought to be some of the worst Qatar has experienced in recent years.
German Angelique Kerber would have gotten back her world No.1 ranking if she made it to the finals of the Middle East swing (Doha and Dubai). However, the top seed lost to Russian teenager Daria Kastkina and crashed out from the tournament on her second round opening match. This is the second time in this year that Kerber has lost to Kastkina. They met earlier this year at the Sydney International last month. Maybe it’s the frustrating wait to get on court (no thanks to the rain) but we do hope Kerber will regain her confidence soon and starts playing her best tennis at the Miami Open.
The in-form Karolina Pliskova finally won the Qatar Total Open title after four appearances. The world No.3 beat Caroline Wozniacki for the first time in her career to claim her eighth WTA title and her second of the year, after Brisbane International in January. Pliskova made it to the finals of the US Open last year, beating the Williams sisters en-route. Will she be the next new Grand Slam champion and world No.1? At the rate she’s going, it might happen by this year. But one thing for sure, she’s definitely the one to look out for at the Miami Open.
The Miami Open is an annual tennis tournament for both men and women held in Miami, Florida. It has an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 status on the men’s tour and is a Premier Mandatory event on the women’s tour.
This year’s edition is set to take place from the 20th of March – 7th of April 2017 at the Tennis Centre at Cradon Park. Click here to view the players acceptance list for both WTA and ATP or visit their website, Miami Open for ticketing and tournament related information.