Doha R2: (7) Lucie Safarova vs (wc) Cagla Buyukakcay
Lucie Safarova will begin her title defense at the Qatar Total Open with a second round clash against Turkish wild card Cagla Buyukakcay. This will be Lucie Safarova’s first match of the 2016 season after being sidelined for the entire Australian summer due to the ongoing effects of a bacterial infection which disrupted the Czech’s second half of 2015. Lucie would usually be a clear favourite in this match-up but is likely to be rusty in her first competitive match for months.
Lucie Safarova suffered with a bacterial infection for a lengthy 6-month period. Lucie’s troubles started after a shock first round loss to Lesia Tsurenko at the U.S Open, the Czech did make a comeback and participated in the WTA Finals but was clearly lacking strength. This will be Safarova’s first tournament of the new year, the perfect tournament for Lucie to make her return given her amazing week in Doha last year which saw the Czech claim her biggest career title. Lucie has been training in Doha for 2 weeks and is hopeful of making a strong return to the tour at the Qatar Total Open this week. It will be interesting to see what type of level Lucie can produce.
Cagla Buyukakcay has been lucky enough to receive a wild card into the main draw in Doha. Buyukakcay has often been awarded a wild card into Doha and Dubai events but has never made an impact at either tournament. Buyukakcay has made a fairly miserable start to the season, highlighted by her first round loss in the qualifying draw at the Australian Open. Buyukakcay arrives in Doha fresh from a 1-6 0-6 loss to Saisai Zheng in the first round of qualifying last week in Dubai.
This will be the first career meeting between Safarova and Buyukakcay. This looks like a massive mismatch on paper, Safarova is clearly a couple of levels above her opponent. However, Safarova will be playing her first competitive match for months and could be quite rusty early on in the match. Safarova has been training in Doha for weeks and will be eager to start her season, I think Lucie will win this pretty comfortably despite this being her match in months.