Day 1 of Qualifying. Qatar Total Open 2018
Saturday was a good day for American tennis in Doha. The Qatar Total Open’s qualifying field of 32 was reduced to 16. Three of those closer to the main draw include top-seeded 18-year-old Cici Bellis, Christina McHale and Bernarda Pera of the United States.
Bellis dominated a 16-year-old local hopeful, Mubaraka Al-Naimi – a fantastic young lady who simply oozes character and class. It was a huge ask, to face the qualifying top-seed as a wild card. The moment may have been too big this go-round, but the experience was invaluable.
It’s been a tough start to the new season for New Jersey’s Christina McHale. She was 0-4 before her match on Saturday, where she eliminated Ukrainian wild card Anastasiya Vasylyeva, 6-0 in the second set.
Croatian-American Bernarda Pera took-out the Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova in straight-sets. Pera comes into Doha after a confidence boosting performance in Melbourne, where as a lucky loser, she defeated World #10 Johanna Konta to reach the 3rd-Round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Sara Sorribes Tormo
2-hours and 50 minutes. Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo won the marathon clash of the day, defeating Great Britain’s Naomi Broady 7-5 in the decider, after dropping the 2nd-set tie-break.
At 2-5 in the decider, Bulgaria’s Sesil Karatantcheva saved a few match points to keep the qualifier alive, but Kateryna Bondarenko earned the win on her next service game, claiming victory in 2-hours and 12-minutes.
Tough day for wild card Sabine Lisicki, who appeared to be gaining some traction last week after reaching the Semifinals in Taipei City. Now the World #174, the former top-20 staple and 2013 Wimbledon finalist fell to the surging Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, who comes into this year’s event with a career-high ranking of #54 in the world. Injuries have plagued Sabine over the past year. In fact, she didn’t start her 2018 season until last week’s phenomenal comeback in Taiwan.
Full Qualifying Results and Sunday’s Schedule
-  Cici Bellis (USA) def [WC] Mubaraka Al-Naimi (QAT) 60 60
- Sofya Zhuk (RUS) def  Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 63 62
11-Feb | Court 2 | 3:30p —  Cici Bellis (USA) vs Sofya Zhuk (RUS)
-  Naomi Osaka (JPN) def Jing-Jing Lu (CHN) 63 64
-  Danka Kovinic (MNE) def Michaela Honcova (SVK) 64 57 61
11-Feb | Court 1 | 3:30p —  Naomi Osaka (JPN) vs  Danka Kovinic (MNE)
-  Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) def [WC] Sabine Lisicki (GER) 61 63
- Kristina Kucova (SVK) def  Oceane Dodin (FRA) 64 61
11-Feb | Court 5 | 3:30p —  Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) vs Kristina Kucova (SVK)
- Vera Zvonareva (RUS) def  Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 64 64
-  Ying-Ying Duan (CHN) def Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) 76(3) 64
11-Feb | Court 3 | 3:30p — Vera Zvonareva (RUS) vs  Ying-Ying Duan (CHN)
-  Christina McHale (USA) def [WC] Anastasiya Vasylyeva (UKR) 63 60
-  Bernarda Pera (USA) def Tereza Martincova (CZE) 62 64
11-Feb | Court 1 | 5:00p —  Christina McHale (USA) vs  Bernarda Pera (USA)
-  Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) def Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 63 46 63
-  Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) def Naomi Broady (GBR) 64 67(1) 75
11-Feb | Court 5 | 5:00p —  Kat. Bondarenko (UKR) vs  Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)
-  Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) def Arina Rodionova (AUS)64 75
- Anna Blinkova (RUS) def  Jana Fett (CRO) 61 61
11-Feb | Court 3 | 5:00p —  Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) vs Anna Blinkova (RUS)
-  Monica Niculescu (ROU) def Risa Ozaki (JPN) 61 60
-  Andrea Petkovic (GER) def Xinyun Han (CHN) 63 61