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Friday, April 16, 2021

Qatar Total Open secures first-round tennis winners

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Azarenka, Muguruza, and Ostapenko are among the Qatar Total Open 2021 tennis tournament’s opening-round winners.

The long-awaited Qatar Total Open 2021 tennis tournament officially concluded its first day on Monday, with victory going to two-time champion and former finalists Victoria Azarenka, Garbiñe Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko, among others.

The event, which kickstarted on Monday, is being held at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha until Saturday.

In the last match of the day, Azarenka defeated two-time runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-2, 6-3, to claim her spot in the second round.

Azarenka improved her head-to-head record scoring to 6-4 against Kuznetsova. The two-time Grand Slam champions met for the first time at the opening-round since their showdown in the 2016 Miami Open final, won by Azarenka.

“Azarenka converted three of her four break points in the opening frame, which, at 44 minutes, was lengthier than the scoreline suggests. Kuznetsova nearly matched Azarenka in winners in the opener, but had five more unforced errors,” reports stated.

Although she missed three match points when serving for the match at 6-2, 5-2, Azarenka managed to prevail in the next game, “converting her sixth match point to break for the win.”

The 2017 Roland Garros champion, Ostapenko, eased past Kiki Bertens 6-0, 6-2 showing off an impressive performance while collecting her 21st career win against a Top 20 opponent.

The former World No.4, Bertens, maintained her first-serve percentage, however, she only secured six winners.

Meanwhile, former World No.1 Muguruza also rocked the opening match with a straight-sets win, defeating Veronika Kudermetova, 6-2, 7-6(4). 

“The Spaniard has been defeated by only Top 30 players thus far in 2021. The two-time major champion kept that streak going with a 1-hour, 45-minute win against World No.34 Kudermetova,” mentioned in reports. 

Read also: Qatar Open to welcome world-class tennis players in March

In the second set, Kudermetova cut Muguruza’s chance to serve out the match at both 5-4 and 6-5. “Muguruza stayed steely in the tiebreak, finding strong drive volleys when it counted to push her through to the second round.”

“Veronika was a very tough opponent. Just happy with this win. We played a year ago, and I remember it was a tough match. Happy to have closed it in two sets,” Muguruza said in her post-match press conference. 

This year’s women’s tournament features the Tunisian tennis superstar Ons Jabeur, “who is the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament.”

Jabeur, who will be playing on Tuesday, “is also the highest placed Arab player in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings and a wildcard in the Qatar Total Open 2021.”

The tournament will see a total of 32 players compete in four qualifiers battling their way up to the crowning singles event. 

In addition, 16 teams will compete for top honours in the doubles category.

The tournament is worth a total prize of US$565,530.


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