Doha R2: (1) Angelique Kerber vs Saisai Zheng
Angelique Kerber will be competing in her first WTA tournament since she stunned the tennis world by claiming her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open title in January. The German is the top seed this week in Doha and after receiving a bye into the second round will face Chinese world number 72 Saisai Zheng. This will be the first ever meeting between the pair and should be a good match-up for Angie.
Entering a major WTA tournament as the top seed and a newly crowned Grand Slam champion will be a totally new experience for Angelique Kerber and will likely to be a factor for the German this week in Doha. Kerber’s life has certainly changed, there will be far more attention on Angie from now on. Angie obviously couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the season, defeating both Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams on route to her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. If Angie can emulate that form she will be a major contender at the remaining Grand Slam events in 2016 and will be hard to stop this week at the Qatar Total Open.
Saisai Zheng brings decent form into her second round clash with Angelique Kerber. Zheng is fresh off a decent week in Dubai where she came through the qualifying draw to reach the second round before succumbing to the eventual champion Sara Errani. Zheng advanced to the second round in Doha courtesy of a 6-2 7-6 victory over Varvara Lepchenko, her second victory over the American in as many weeks.
This will be the first ever clash between Kerber and Zheng. I suspect Angie will be reasonably comfortable in this match-up. Zheng isn’t a particularly aggressively minded players and doesn’t have any serious weapons that can puncture holes in the game of the German. Angie will be able to dictate play and should make a good start to her Doha campaign with a reasonably easy win.