Draw ceremony emcee Andy Taylor reflects on the draw for the 2018 Qatar Total Open
Qatar Total Open 2018. 1st-Round Match-ups
The draw is set for the Qatar Total Open. A Premier-5 event this year, 48 players received direct entry, while four were granted wild cards, including 2-time former champion Maria Sharapova and the first Arab woman ever to reach the 3rd-Round of a Grand Slam, Ons Jabeur. Remaining positions will be filled by the winners of tomorrow’s eight final-round qualifying matches.
With 1st-Round byes, the top-8 seeds won’t play until Wednesday. Australian Open Champion and World #1 Caroline Wozniacki tops the field. Her opponent in Melbourne’s Final, Simona Halep anchors the bottom of the draw. Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza, defending champion Karolina Pliskova, 2016 finalist Jelena Ostapenko, Caroline Garcia and 2014 finalist Angelique Kerber round-out this year’s Round-1 “resters.”
The Athletes: A strong field of talent
 Caroline Wozniacki (Rank 1)
 Simona Halep (Rank 2)
 Elina Svitolina (Rank 3)
 Garbine Muguruza (Rank 4)
 Karolina Pliskova (Rank 5)
 Jelena Ostapenko (Rank 6)
 Caroline Garcia (Rank 7)
 Angelique Kerber (Rank 9)
 Julia Georges (Rank 10)
 Johanna Konta (Rank 11)
 Kristina Mladenovic (Rank 13)
 Madison Keys (Rank 14)
 Anastasija Sevastova (Rank 15)
 Magdalena Rybarikova (Rank 18)
 Elise Mertens (Rank 20)
 Petra Kvitova (Rank 21)
17) Anastasia Pavyluchenkova (Rank 22)
18) Elena Vesnina (Rank 23)
19) Daria Kasatkina (Rank 24)
20) Barbora Strycova (Rank 25)
21) Anett Kontaveit (Rank 27)
22) Carla Suarez Navarro (Rank 29)
23) Dominika Cibulkova (Rank 30)
24) Lucie Safarova (Rank 31)
25) Shuai Peng (Rank 32)
26) Agnieszka Radwanska (Rank 33)
27) Shaui Zhang (Rank 34)
28) Timea Babos (Rank 35)
29) Ekaterina Makarova (Rank 36)
30) Irina-Camelia Begu (Rank 37)
31) Sorana Cirstea (Rank 38)
32) Alize Cornet (Rank 39)
33) Lesia Tsurenko (Rank 40)
34) [WC] Maria Sharapova (Rank 41)
35) Mihaela Buzarnescu (Rank 43)
36) Sam Stosur (Rank 44)
37) Qiang Wang (Rank 45)
38) Aleksandra Krunic (Rank 47)
39) Katarina Siniakova (Rank 49)
40) Donna Vekic (Rank 50)
41) Carina Witthoft (Rank 52)
42) Tatjana Maria (Rank 58)
43) Maria Sakkari (Rank 60)
44) Mona Barthel (Rank 75)
45) Yulia Putintseva (Rank 81)
46) [WC] Ons Jabeur (Rank 112)
47) [WC] Cagla Buyukakcay (Rank 161)
48) [WC] Fatma Al-Nabhani (Rank 520)
Draw: First Half / Top Quarter
Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber anchor this quarter. Both received a tough draw. Wozniacki will most-likely see wild card Maria Sharapova in the Round of 16, while Kerber will have to battle Irina-Camelia Begu or Sam Stosur in the 2nd-Round. Survive that, and she’ll grapple with Johanna Konta or 2016 Champion Carla Suarez Navarro in the Round of 16. On a positive note, Suarez Navarro, Begu and Konta are all playing Fed Cup this weekend. Jet lag may work in Angie’s favor.
Draw: First Half / Bottom Quarter
Elina Svitolina and 2016 Finalist Jelena Ostapenko are the top-seeds in this quarter. The “Fed Cupping” Czechs also load this portion of the draw. Barbora Strycova and 2105 Champion Lucie Safarova could meet in Round-2, while Petra Kvitova could face Agnieszka Radwanska in the 2nd-Round, if Petra can muscle past Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay. Jelena Ostapenko appears to have the lesser challenging road to the Quarters, with Svitolina’s Round of 16 most-likely seeing Radwanska or Kvitova.
Draw: Second Half / Top Quarter
Garbine Muguruza and Caroline Garcia anchor this quarter, and Garbine scored big on Saturday, with a clear path to the Quarterfinals. Her first opponent on Wednesday will either be an exhausted qualifier or World #112 Ons Jabeur. That said, don’t count-out Jabeur. She’s a tricky talent who’s proven she can take down top-seeds on the sport’s biggest stages (see below). Garcia’s path is trickier than Garbine’s, with Cibulkova or Pavyluchenkova in Round-2 and most-likely Kristina Mledenovic or Elena Vesnina in the Round of 16.
Draw: Second Half / Bottom Quarter
2014 Champion Simona Halep and defending champion Karolina Pliskova are the top-seeds in this quarter. Enough said. That’s a tough draw for both. Daria Kasatkina and Katarina Siniakova both drew qualifiers, while names like Madison Keys, Anastasija Sevastova, Ekaterina Makarova and Anett Kontaveit round-out a quarter full of fighters.
Qatar Total Open. Always a Challenge to Schedule
The 1st-Round of Fed Cup always falls the weekend before the Qatar Total Open. This creates a daunting travel scenario for tournament organizers to schedule around. Players like Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova, Barbora Strycova, Johanna Konta, Kristina Mladenovic, Tatjana Maria, Elise Mertens, Carla Suarez Navarro, Irina-Camelia Begu and Sorana Cirstea will have to catch a late flight Sunday night to be here in time for main draw play.
With a 1st-Round bye, defending champion Karolina Pliskova is the only one with breathing-room, knowing she won’t have to play her first match until Wednesday.
Special Guests at the 2018 Qatar Total Open Draw Ceremony
Every year, four players join us for the draw ceremony at the Four Seasons Doha. By luck of “the draw,” three of those ladies received qualifying opponents in the 1st-Round: Elena Vesnina, Daria Kasatkina and Ons Jabeur. Sadly, wild card Fatma Al-Nabhani from Oman drew the 14-seed Magdalena Rybarikova in the top quarter of the draw’s first half. With Wozniacki, Kerber and Sharapova also in that Quarter, she’ll need to play the best tennis of her career to go deep.
Fatma Al Nabhani
She is a fan favorite here in Doha. Last August in Grand Canary, she won her 12th ITF Womens Circuit Doubles title, and remarkably – was competing in her 40th career Doubles final. Then in Tunisia last October, she won her 10th ITF Singles title. The Singles Gold Medalist at the 2011 Arab Games Doha, competing in her 10th Qatar Total Open. From Oman, Fatma Al Nabhani
Last year, this Tunisian stand-out upset Dominka Cibulkova at Roland Garros and became the first Arab woman ever to reach the 3rd-round of a Grand Slam. She went on to reach the 2nd-round at the US Open for the first time; and by October, climbed to a career-high ranking of #83 in the World. With 10 ITF Women’s Circuit Singles titles and 2 Doubles titles, she is competing in her 6th Qatar Total Open. From Tunisia, Ons Jabeur
Last year, at just 19-years-old, this Russian powerhouse upset the top-seed Angelique Kerber to reach the Quarterfinals here in Doha for the first time. Two-months later, she won her first WTA singles title, lifting the trophy in Charleston. Last month, she reached a career-high ranking of #23 in the World, and last week – defeated World #1 and Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki to reach the semifinals in St. Petersburg. Here in Doha for the 3rd-time, Daria Kasatkina
This 4-time Grand Slam Champion is an Olympic Gold Medalist; and won the biggest singles title of her career last March, defeating Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams en-route to capturing the title at Indian Wells. At Wimbledon, she earned her 3rd Grand Slam Doubles title with partner Ekaterina Makarova, winning the championship match without losing a single game (the first time that’s happened in 64-years). A 2-time Fed Cup champion, two-years-ago she played through qualifying here in Doha and defeated Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki en-route to the Quarterfinals. From Russia, World #23, Elena Vesnina
16 still hungry for a spot at the grown up table
The final round of qualifying starts tomorrow at 3:30 on Courts 1 through 5. Eight matches will determine the remainder of the field. Check out the full recap of Saturday’s 1st-Round of qualifying, and be here at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex to see who will join the rest of the field. Admission is free.