Ashleigh Barty vs. Garbine Muguruza, Doha QF Preview

??? Qatar Total Open, Doha QF Preview + prediction:
?? (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. ?? (11) Garbine Muguruza

A blockbuster quarter-final clash at the 2020 Qatar Total Open sees the top seeded Ashleigh Barty come up against a red-hot Garbine Muguruza. A heavyweight battle between a pair of Grand Slam champions. It is Barty who heads into this clash as the favourite, the world number 1 holds a 2-1 H2H record over the Spaniard but is unlikely to have things all her own way against a resurgent opponent.

Ash Barty hasn’t had to do much at all to advance to the final 8 in Doha. Barty received a bye in the first round before easily defeating Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-2. Barty then received a walkover into the quarter-finals as Elena Rybakina pulled out of their scheduled third round match. It is therefore hard to get a read of how well Barty is playing this week.

Garbine Muguruza has overcome 3 decent opponents to reach the final 8 stage in Doha. The 11th seed started the event with a hard-fought 7-5 5-7 6-3 win over Daria Kasatkina. Muguruza picked up her level in her next couple of matches to record straight set wins over Ajla Tomljanovic and Dayana Yastremska, 6-1 6-2 over the Aussie and 6-2 6-4 over the Ukrainian.

Ash Barty has won 2 of the 3 previous meetings over Muguruza. It was Barty who won the most recent match between the pair, a 6-3 6-4 victory at the Hopman Cup last year. It was Muguruza who won their most recent tour-level match, a 6-0 3-6 6-2 victory at the Rogers Cup in 2017.

I’m going to go for the upset here. Muguruza has generally played the better tennis of the pair in 2020 and has the power to dominate this match-up. If Muguruza is patient with the Barty slice and picks the right moments to attack, she should be too strong, especially on a relevantly slow hard court. Muguruza has already beaten 3 decent opponents this week, she has a good rhythm and confidence. Barty is vulnerable.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza to defeat Ashleigh Barty in 3 sets
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Karolina Muchova vs. Magda Linette, Doha R1 Preview

Qatar Total Open, Doha R1 Preview + prediction:
?? Karolina Muchova vs. ?? Magda Linette

Karolina Muchova and Magda Linette will renew their rivalry when they do battle at the opening round stage of the 2020 Qatar Total Open in Doha. Muchova and Linette both claimed victories over each other during their respective runs to maiden titles in 2019. Linette defeated Muchova at the quarter-final stage in the Bronx before winning the title, Muchova avenged that loss in the Seoul final a few months later, who will edge ahead in the head-to-head series with a win in their third career meeting?

Karolina Muchova has made a very disappointing start to her 2020 campaign and arrives in Doha in desperate need of a strong run. Muchova ended 2019 as one of the form players on tour but has certainly failed to rediscover that form in the new year. Muchova has only won 1 match in 2020, most recently she was beaten by Katerina Siniakova in 3 sets in Dubai last week in the first round, Muchova failed to win a single game in the deciding set, a very deflating way to lose.

Magda Linette arrives in Doha full of confidence having just won her second career title in Hua Hin a few weeks ago. It was a fantastic week for Linette in Hua Hin where she dropped just 1 set on route to winning the title. Linette’s run in Hua Hin will be a big boost for Pole given she previously made a poor start to the year; Linette will be hoping to continue to gain momentum in Doha.

The head-to-head record between Muchova and Linette is split at 1 win apiece. Both meetings took place in 2019, It was Linette who emerged victorious in the Bronx with a 6-7 6-4 7-6 victory. Muchova then dominated Linette in the championship match in Seoul, a 6-1 6-1 win for the Czech.

I’m going to side with Linette here. It is Linette who brings far superior form and confidence into this match. On Paper this is a very even match-up, so the superior form and confidence of Linette means she is the favourite here. Muchova is really struggling to find her game at the moment and will find life tough in this match against the Pole who gives very little away. Expect Linette to be too solid on this occasion, Muchova doesn’t seem efficient enough at the moment to get past such a solid, in-form opponent.

Prediction: Magda Linette to defeat Karolina Muchova in 3 sets
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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Yulia Putintseva, Doha R1 Preview

Qatar Total Open, Doha R1 Preview + prediction:
?? Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. ?? Yulia Putintseva

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Yulia Putintseva will go head-to-head for the first time in over 3 years when they meet at the opening round stage of the 2020 Qatar Total Open. It is Pavlyuchenkova who will head into this clash as the strong favourite. Pavlyuchenkova has made a stronger start to the season, the Russian notably reached the final 8 at the Australian Open and has also won the only 2 previous meetings between the pair.

Pavlyuchenkova arrives in Doha fresh from a second round exit in Dubai. Pavlyuchenkova made a miracle comeback in her opening round match, the Russian dropped the first 19 points to Belinda Bencic but flipped the script to claim a memorable 1-6 6-1 6-1 victory over the fourth seed. Unfortunately, Pavlyuchenkova was unable to keep her run going in Dubai, beaten by Anett Kontaveit 6-7 5-7 despite being up a break of serve in each set.

Yulia Putintseva had made a decent start to her 2020 campaign. Putintseva claimed a few good wins at the Australian Open over Su-Wei Hsieh and Danielle Collins before succumbing to Simona Halep in straight sets. Putintseva arrives in Doha fresh from a week off after her disappointing opening round exit in St. Petersburg to Veronika Kudermetova in 3 sets.

Pavlyuchenkova holds a perfect 2-0 record over Putintseva. Both of the previous matches between the two took place in 2016, a 7-5 6-1 victory for Pavlyuchenkova at Wimbledon followed by a 6-4 1-6 7-5 win at the Rogers Cup.

I’m going to side pretty confidently with Pavlyuchenkova. It is Pavlyuchenkova who has made the brighter start to the year and who is favoured by the conditions and match-up. Pavlyuchenkova is more dangerous on a hard court and should be too powerful for Putintseva. Pavlyuchenkova’s strong baseline game will cause Putintseva all types of problems, especially the Russian’s aggressive return of serve which will expose Putintseva’s weak serve. Once Pavlyuchenkova gets in a big first strike it will be hard for Putintseva to recover in the rally on this surface. Pavlyuchenkova should win this easily.

Prediction: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to defeat Yulia Putintseva in 2 sets
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Garbine Muguruza vs Petra Kvitova, Doha Final Preview

Qatar Total Open, Doha Final Preview
(4) ?? Garbine Muguruza vs (16) ?? Petra Kvitova

The 2018 Qatar Total Open will come to an exciting end on Sunday with a blockbuster final set to take place between a pair of two-time Grand Slam champions, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova. Muguruza and Kvitova have both shown a high level of tennis this week in Doha, especially Petra Kvitova who enters Sunday’s final fresh off an epic upset victory over world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki. A win for Petra Kvitova will see her move back into the top 10 for the first time since 2016. Kvitova is on a 12 match winning streak and holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Muguruza, but the determined Spaniard will be no pushover.

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Garbine Muguruza’s run to the final in Doha is exactly what the Spaniard needed to ignite her 2018 season. Muguruza had not won back-to-back matches in 2018 before arriving in Doha. Muguruza started the event with fairly comprehensive victories over Ying-Ying Duan and Sorana Cirstea before coming from a set down to defeat Caroline Garcia. Muguruza’s 3-6 6-1 6-4 win over Garcia was the biggest win of the year for Muguruza, her first top 10 victory since Singapore last year. Muguruza was fortunate to receive a walkover into the final as Simona Halep pulled out of their scheduled semi-final because of a foot injury.

Petra Kvitova is the form player in the world right now. Kvitova heads into Sunday’s final in Doha on a 12-match winning streak, a run that includes a title in St. Petersburg a few weeks ago and a few wins in a Fed Cup tie last weekend. Kvitova’s path to the final in Doha has been extremely tough. Petra started the week with an easy win over Cagla Buyukakcay before coming from a set and a break down to beat Agnieszka Radwanska. Kvitova then claimed a pair of straight set wins over Elina Svitolina and Julia Goerges to set up a semi-final showdown with Caroline Wozniacki. For the second time this week, Kvitova managed to win from a set and a break down, overcoming a wayward start to beat the world number 1 3-6 7-6 7-5. Kvitova blasted 50 winners past the Dane in what was an inspired performance. Petra was very clutch in all the key moments, especially in the crucial second set tiebreak.

Petra Kvitova holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Muguruza. Kvitova has won the last 3 matches between the pair including a 7-6 6-3 win at the U.S Open last year in their most recent match. Petra also beat Muguruza twice in 2016, a 3 set win on clay in Stuttgart and a straight set win in Beijing. Clearly this has been a favourable match-up for Kvitova.

Caroline Wozniacki vs Karolina Pliskova, Qatar Total Open Final Preview

Qatar Total Open, ?? Championship Match Preview:
?? Caroline Wozniacki vs (2) ?? Karolina Pliskova

A rain interrupted week in Doha is finally back on track as a blockbuster final between Caroline Wozniacki and Karolina Pliskova is set for Saturday evening at the Qatar Total Open. Wozniacki and Pliskova have clearly been the standout performers this week in Doha, both enter the final in top form which should lead to a classic final.

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Caroline Wozniacki vs Lauren Davis, Doha QF Preview

Qatar Total Open, ?? Quarter-Final Match Preview:
?? Caroline Wozniacki vs ?? (Q) Lauren Davis

Caroline Wozniacki looms as one of the favorites to win the 2017 Qatar Total Open heading into the business end of the tournament. The Dane is in great form this week which was clear in her impressive straight set win over Agnieszka Radwanska. Lauren Davis is also in top form having come through the qualifying draw to reach the final eight in Doha.

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Agnieszka Radwanska vs Caroline Wozniacki, Doha R2 Preview

Qatar Total Open, ?? Second Round Match Preview:
(4) ?? Agnieszka Radwanska vs ?? Caroline Wozniacki

Thursday’s match of the day at the Qatar Total Open in Doha sees Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki renew hostilities in what has traditionally been a close rivalry between two very evenly matched players. Both Radwanska and Wozniacki made decent starts to the season during the Aussie summer but both were left disappointed when they were unable to reach the second week of the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne. Time is running out for Radwanska and Wozniacki to win a Grand Slam, arguably the two best current players to have never won a major. 2017 is a big year for both and the next couple of weeks are important to gain confidence and momentum heading into the next part of the season.

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Caroline Wozniacki vs Kiki Bertens, Doha R1 Preview

Qatar Total Open, ?? First Round Match Preview:
?? Caroline Wozniacki vs ?? Kiki Bertens

Caroline Wozniacki will be in action for the first time since her third round Australian Open exit when she opens her Qatar Total Open campaign against Kiki Bertens on Tuesday afternoon. Wozniacki made a strong finish to 2016 but failed to bring that same level to the start of the 2017 season. The Dane will be keen for a strong showing in Doha to really jumpstart her season. Wozniacki should enjoy this match-up against an out of form Kiki Bertens who is fresh off a very disappointing Fed Cup outing in Belarus last weekend.

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Jelena Jankovic, Doha R1 Preview

Qatar Total Open, ?? First Round Match Preview:
?? Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs (Q) ?? Jelena Jankovic

Tuesday’s first match on Centre Court at the Qatar Total Open features Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Jelena Jankovic. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova made a brilliant start to the season having reached the quarter-final stage at the Australian Open for the first time in her career, the Russian who is often plagued with inconsistency will be keen to maintain a high level over the next couple of weeks. Pavlyuchenkova has a great record against Jankovic but the Serb is never easy to overcome and will be better acclimatized to the conditions having won three matches in the qualifying draw.

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Agnieszka Radwanska vs Carla Suarez Navarro, Doha SF Preview

Doha SF #1: (3) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (8) Carla Suarez Navarro

Agnieszka Radwanska looks like the clear favourite to claim her first Qatar Total Open title heading into the semi-final stage of the event on Friday. The Pole will face Carla Suarez Navarro for a spot in the final, an opponent Aga has a good record against and recently defeated quite comfortably at the quarter-final stage of the Australian Open last month. Both ladies will be aiming to reach the final at the Qatar Total Open for the very first time with a win on Friday. 

Aga Radwanska has clearly been the most consistent player on the WTA tour since the U.S Open last year, Aga has won 16 of her last 17 matches and 30 of her last 35 matches including 3 titles. Aga’s level of tennis has gradually improved this week in Doha. The world number 3 started the week with scrappy straight set wins over Kateryna Bondarenko and Monica Niculescu before producing a very high quality performance to defeat Roberta Vinci 3-6 6-2 6-3. Radwanska finished the match with some impressive statistics, hitting 40 winners to just 27 unforced errors and maintaining a very high first serve percentage of 78%. Aga has now reached the semi-final stage in Doha on 5 occasions but is yet to reach a final, the Pole will be confident she can change that record on Friday.

 

Carla Suarez Navarro is also playing some good tennis this week in Doha. The Spaniard has not dropped a set this week, recording straight set wins over Donna Vekic, Timea Bacsinszky and Elena Vesnina. Suarez Navarro has been typically consistent during the first couple of months of the year but has also typically struggled in big matches, Carla will be looking at her semi-final clash with Radwanska as a big opportunity to reverse that unwanted trend and reach her first final of the season. 

Radwanska holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Carla. The pair met last month at the quarter-final stage of the Australian Open and it was Radwanska that won quite comfortably 6-1 6-3. I expect this match to be much closer but I expect the same result. This is a good match-up for Aga who does most things better than Carla. Aga seems to be peaking at the right stage of the tournament and really enjoys the court conditions in Doha. The title is Aga’s to lose from here, she shouldn’t slip up.

Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 2 sets


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