Qatar Total Open, Doha R3 Preview
?? (5) Karolina Pliskova vs ?? (Q) Catherine Bellis
Karolina Pliskova continues her title defense at the Qatar Total Open on Thursday where she takes on in form American qualifier Catherine Bellis. Pliskova started her title defense in style on Wednesday evening by comfortably beating Alize Cornet in straight sets. Bellis is unlikely to be a pushover, the American has won 4 matches this week, including an impressive 3 set win over Madison Keys in the previous round.
Karolina Pliskova has made a decent start to 2018 but has not been at her damaging best. Pliskova reached the semi-finals in Brisbane and the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, a decent Aussie summer. Pliskova has had good success in the middle east in the past, Pliskova is the defending champion in Doha and is a former finalist in Dubai. Pliskova started her 2018 Doha campaign with a fairly easy 6-2 6-3 win over Alize Cornet. It was a confident performance by Pliskova who trailed early in each set but calmly ended each set with a bang.
Catherine Bellis eased through the qualifying draw in Doha. The American started her main draw campaign with a 7-5 4-1 win over Daria Kasatkina. It was in the second round that Bellis made her biggest move, beating Madison Keys 2-6 6-3 6-0, one of the biggest wins of the 19-year-old’s career. Bellis was thrashed by Pliskova earlier this year, a third round meeting with Pliskova in Doha gives Bellis a chance to redeem herself.
The only previous meeting between the pair ended in a 6-1 6-1 win for Pliskova earlier this year in Brisbane. Can an in form Bellis provide a tougher challenge for the defending champion on this occasion?