Qatar Total Open, Doha R1 Preview + prediction:
?? (12) Marketa Vondrousova vs. ?? Saisai Zheng
The 12th seeded Marketa Vondrousova begins her 2020 Qatar Total Open campaign with an opening round clash against China’s Saisai Zheng. Vondrousova arrives in Doha fresh from a bitterly disappointing second round exit in Dubai at the hands of Jennifer Brady, Vondrousova led that match by a set and a double break before collapsing, the 2019 Roland Garros runner-up will be hoping for a strong response here.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Vondrousova in her return to the WTA tour after injury side-lined her for the second half of 2019. Vondrousova recently suffered back-to-back opening round exits at the Australian Open and in St. Petersburg. The 20-year-old snapped her 3-match losing run in Dubai last week where she comfortably defeated Anastasija Sevastova in the opening round before succumbing to Jenifer Brady 4-6 6-4 6-1 despite leading by a set and 4-1.
Saisai Zheng has made a mostly modest start to the 2020 season. Zheng has a 3-4 win/loss record in 2020, Zheng arrives in Doha on the back of an opening round exit at in the qualifying draw in Dubai where she was beaten by Katerina Siniakova in straight sets. Prior to that Zheng was easily beaten by Patricia Maria Tig in Hua Hin where she played an awful match. Zheng did however reach the final of the doubles event in Dubai.
Vondrousova comfortably defeated Zheng in their only previous meeting, a 6-2 6-3 win on grass in Eastbourne last year.
I’m going to side with Vondrousova here. I believe this is a good match-up for Vondrousova. Zheng usually relies on her versatility to undo her opponents but that is unlikely to happen with Vondrousova. The Czech player can better the versatility of Zheng whilst possessing far more power and attacking weapons. Zheng’s net charging tactics will also backfire here as Vondrousova loves a target at the net. Vondrousova is better in all departments and should be smart enough to get through this one pretty comfortably.