Qualifying: 2019 Qatar Total Open
Assembling a Qualifying field for the 2019 Qatar Total Open is never an easiest ask for WTA Tournament Supervisor, Tony Cho. You see, Doha falls on the heels of global Fed Cup play, meaning player itineraries are literally all over the map.
Think about it. Typically, when a player finishes an event – barring any injuries – she usually has one to three predetermined options for next week’s action. Like a caravan, the WTA traveling circus invades the next tournament’s city as players fall out of the previous event’s draw. Main-draw play then starts on Monday, and the cycle repeats itself.
Fed Cup, however, is a WEEKEND event – meaning players who agree to represent their country before the Qatar Total Open must scramble for flights to Hamad International – just to play their Round-1 match. If weekend QUALIFYING is the only option for someone to reach Doha’s main draw, you can bet those Fed Cup commits will drop-out of the tournament before it begins.
Honestly, the schedule only benefits those ranked high enough to receive a 1st-Round BYE. Knowing that they won’t play until Tuesday at the earliest, these top-level performers are free to play Fed Cup without a single concern over travel options.
2019 Qualifiers dropped like Doha flies in July
Some names who jumped-ship early include kick-ass Americans Danielle Collins -23- and Sofia Kenin -37-, who are representing Team USA versus Australia in this weekend’s Fed Cup World Group Quarterfinal in Asheville, North Carolina. Both were in the initial Doha Qualifying Draw. Clearly, neither could do both. Even Madison Keys -17- withdrew from Doha’s main draw because of her commitment to represent the United States. Much respect.
That said, poor Australian Ashleigh Barty – World #13 and most-likely the 6-seed here in Doha – will have to endure a 13-hour flight Sunday night, just to get to Doha in-time for her specially scheduled Round-1 match on Tuesday. Insane.
Other players who withdrew from the Doha Qualifying Draw before the start of the tournament:
- Shuai Zhang -40- (CHN) | Fed Cup
- Yulia Putintseva -43- (KAZ) | Fed Cup
- Ekaterina Alexandrova -65- (RUS)
- Marketa Vondrouseva -72- (CZE)
- Vera Zvonareva -76- (RUS) | SF at St. Petersburg, defeated 5-seed Görges and 3-seed Kasatkina
- Zarina Diyas -96- (KAZ) | Fed Cup
- Coco Vandeweghe -102- (USA)
- Heather Watson -110- (GBR) | Fed Cup
- Fanny Stollar -119- (HUN)
- Kateryna Kozlova -126- (UKR) | Fed Cup
- Sofia Zhuk -147- (RUS)
- Irina Bara -176- (ROU)
- Lauren Davis -201- (USA)
Meanwhile, players like Katerina Siniakova -44- (CZE), Petra Martic -36- (CRO) and Barbora Strycova -49- (CZE) were moved to the main draw after the withdrawals of Madison Keys (Fed Cup), World #1 Naomi Osaka (injury) and Qiang Wang (injury) respectively.
The Qualifying field | 2019 Qatar Total Open
Seeded players include Ajla Tomljanovic – Finalist at the 2019 Taiwan Open, Alison Riske, Tamara Zidansek, 2011 US Open Champion Sam Stosur, former top-5 player Genie Bouchard, Bernarda Pera, Polona Hercog, and World #90 Kristyna Pliskova.
Thanks to the hectic scramble of withdrawals, the final number of qualifiers shrunk to 31. Therefore, top-seed Tomljanovic will receive a Round-1 Qualifying BYE.
Two WTA Doubles giants – both currently devoid of a Singles ranking – snagged open slots in the Draw: 2016 Doha Doubles Champion Hao-Ching Chan and 2-time Champion Abigail Spears (2015 2017). The Doubles World #46, Shuko Aoyama, also grabbed a open Qualifying spot.
Qatar Total Open 2019 Qualifiers
-  Ajla Tomljanovic -41- (AUS) | 2019 Finalist at Taiwan Open | QR1 BYE
- 02] Alison Riske -52- (USA)
-  Tamara Zidansek -63- (SLO)
-  Sam Stosur -73- (AUS)
-  Genie Bouchard -80- (CAN)
-  Bernarda Pera -82- (USA)
-  Polona Hercog -88- (SLO)
-  Kristyna Pliskova -90- (CZE)
- Sorana Cirstea -92- (ROU)
- Lara Arruabarrena -94- (ESP)
- Anna Blinkova -95- (RUS)
- Madison Brengle -97- (USA)
- Veronika Kudermetova -98- (RUS)
- Lin Zhu -108- (CHN)
- Jennifer Brady -120- (USA)
- Anhelina Kalinina -131- (UKR)
- Karolina Muchova -133- (CZE)
- Varvara Lepchenko -136- (USA)
- Sabina Sharipova -139- (UZB)
- Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) -144- | 2019 Doubles Finalist in St. Petersburg
- Alexandra Dulgheru -164- (ROU)
- Liudmila Samsonova -168- (RUS)
- Tereza Mrdeza -202- (CRO)
- Shilin Xu -210- (CHN)
- [WC] Emily Webley-Smith -506- (GBR)
- [WC] Julia Elbaba -526- (USA)
- Shuko Aoyama -651- (JPN) | Doubles -45-
- Hao-Ching Chan -No Rank- (TPE) | Doubles -20- | 2016 Doubles Champion
- Abigail Spears -No Rank- (USA) | Doubles -31- | 2-time Doha Doubles Champion 2015 and 2017
- [WC] Mubaraka al-Naimi -No Rank- (QAT) | *17-years-old
- [WC] Mariana Ramirez Nieto -No Rank- (COL) | *16-years-old