Qatar Total Open, Doha R2 Preview
?? (2) Simona Halep vs ?? Ekaterina Makarova
2014 Qatar Total Open Champion Simona Halep will begin her 2018 Doha campaign with a tricky second round clash against serial giant killer Ekaterina Makarova. Halep will be in action for the first time since her brutal Australian Open defeat at the hands of Caroline Wozniacki last month. It will be interesting to see what type of level Halep produces in her return, will the Australian Open defeat act as motivation for Halep or will it be the start of a downward spiral?
In general, it has been an outstanding start to the season for Simona Halep. The Romanian won her 16th career singles title at the Shenzhen Open before courageously reaching the Australian Open final where she fell agonizingly short to Caroline Wozniacki. Halep has now been beaten in a Grand Slam final on 3 occasions, in each match she had a legitimate chance to win. The biggest positive for Halep is the positive mindset she showed throughout January, with this mindset Simona will use the Australian Open defeat as a motivator.
Ekaterina Makarova has made an inconsistent start to the season but will see this second round clash in Doha with Halep as an opportunity to claim a big scalp. Makarova booked her spot in the second round at the Qatar Total Open with a 7-5 6-0 victory over China’s Shuai Zhang on Monday.
Halep holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Makarova. Their most recent completed match took place at Indian Wells in 2016 where Halep won 6-2 6-4. Makarova has consistently proven to a troublesome opponent for Halep so this will be a tough challenge to start the event for Simona.