Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Total Open
2016 Finalist Jelena Ostapenko advances to the Round of 16
Three years ago, Jelena Ostapenko made her first big splash on the WTA Tour here in Doha. Just 18-years-old at the time, she upset World #8 Petra Kvitova en-route to the Final. Last year, Jelena captured the Doubles title with Gabriela Dabrowski.
Mihaela Buzarnescu has made waves of her own on this court. In fact, last year she defeated Ostapenko to reach the Round of 16 in her Premier-5 and Doha debuts. It was part of Mihaela’s remarkable climb to top-20, after a punishing decade languishing at the ITF level.
Tonight’s rematch was all Ostapenko until the middle of set-2. The two traded five breaks before Mihaela finally held to force a decider. But Jelena rediscovered her serve in the third, allowing Buzarnescu only a pair of holds the rest of the way.
Head to Head: Third meeting between these two players
- 2019 Doha R1 | Jelena Ostapenko -22- (LAT) def Mihaela Buzarnescu -29- (ROU) | 61 46 62
- 2018 Eastbourne R16 |  Jelena Ostapenko -12- (LAT) def Mihaela Buzarnescu -28- (ROU) | 61 62
- 2018 Doha R2 | Mihaela Buzarnescu -43- (ROU) def  Jelena Ostapenko -06- (LAT) | 61 63
Originally, this match was scheduled for Court-1
Thanks to Fed Cup, illness and injury, it has been a crazy year of withdrawals here in Doha. Originally, today’s third match on center court was supposed to feature [Q] Karolina Muchova versus 3-time Doha Finalist Caroline Wozniacki.
Instead, Caroline backed-out with a “viral illness” shortly before today’s session began. This despite spending loads of time last night on-stage at the Player Dinner Gala alongside “real-life” Sherlock Holmes, Collin Cloud.
Anyway. With another Lucky Loser position opened-up, Muchova moved to Court-1 where she defeated Sam Stosur in straight-sets.
But Wozniacki wasn’t the only “Caroline” Tuesday retirement. Caroline Garcia also back-out, shortly after arriving in Doha this morning. Lara Arruabarrena took Garcia’s spot in the draw and fell to Lesia Tsurenko in today’s second match on center court.
In all, since before Qualifying began, a total of 22 players have withdrawn from this year’s Qatar Total Open. Needless to say, it’s been a rough four days for the Tournament Supervisor and Tournament Emcee.
Jelena Ostapenko -22- (LAT) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
In 2016, this Grand Slam Champion delivered a breakthrough performance on this court. At just 18-years-old, and the World #88, she upset World #8 Petra Kvitova in the Round of 16 and played through to her 2nd WTA Singles Final. Since then, she’s assembled quite a resume. In 2017, she captured her first Major title at Roland Garros, earned her second title in Seoul, reached the WTA Finals, is now a 6-time Finalist on Tour, and has been ranked as high as World #5. In her Doha return last year, she partnered with Gabriela Dabrowski to capture her 3rd career WTA Doubles title. A member of her country’s Fed Cup since she was 15-years-old, over the weekend at home in Riga – she helped lift her country to the Fed Cup World Group Playoffs for the 1st-time, where they’ll host Germany this April. Competing in her 3rd Qatar Total Open – From Latvia, please welcome 2016 Finalist and 2018 Doubles Champion, Jelena Ostapenko.
- R1 — W | Mihaela Buzarnescu -29- (ROU) | Score: 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
Mihaela Buzarnescu -29- (ROU) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
Hers is a remarkable journey. Injured 2016, she nearly retired from the game, but friends and family encouraged her take another run. After receiving a Doctorate degree in Physical Education and Sport, she lit-up up the Tour like a player possessed. In 2017, she started the season ranked outside the top-500; but over the course of the year, earned 7 ITF Singles titles in 9 Finals, reached her first Tour-level Semifinal in Linz, and ended the year as the World #56 – climbing an unheard-of 484 spots in the rankings. Last year her remarkable run continued – She reached her first Tour-level Final in Hobart, her second in Prague, then captured her first Tour-level title in San Jose. She was also a 4-time Doubles Finalist, won her first Doubles title in Strasbourg, and qualified for the year-end WTA Elite Trophy. Back in Doha after a memorable run to the Round of 16 last year – From Romania, please welcome Mihaela Buzarnescu.
- R1 — L | Jelena Ostapenko -22- (LAT) | Score: 1-6, 6-4, 2-6