Doha: Day-5. Welcome to Vika’s House.

The Qatar Total Open 2015 Final is set for Saturday: 2-time Doha Champion Victoria Azarenka vs. World #15 Lucie Safarova. While Lucie completely dominated Carla Suarez Navarro in two, Azarenka dropped the first set and needed to dig deep for her first-ever win over 46-time titlist, Venus Williams.

Day Five. Match 1. All credit to Lucie Safarova, who’s been playing amazing tennis since winning her first Grand Slam title with doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the Australlian Open. Since that win, she’s reached the Quarterfinals in Antwerp and Dubai, posted a win over Venus Williams, and maintained her top-15 ranking. With her Doha Final appearance tomorrow, she’ll be happy to hear: Come Monday, she will be the #11 ranked player in the world. That said, it’s important to point out that Carla Suarez Navarro is an absolute machine, who’s laser-precision backhand has scored her amazing wins this year as well. She’s managed four victories over top-10 players: Makarova in Sydney, Pliskova in Antwerp and back-to-back wins over Petra Kvitova in Dubai and Doha. While she reached the singles Final in Antwerp, she’d play thorugh to the doubles Final in Dubai…long story short: By the end of her match Friday night, she’d played 17 total matches in just 19 days. Machine.

Day Five. Match 2. By all appearances, Victoria Azarenka is back – very close to playing her best tennis. Time will tell, but here in Doha, she’s made it clear that the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex is HER HOUSE. She fell behind early to Venus’ punishing control and dropped the first set 2-6. In the second, she started charging the net, trying every aggressive option to pump herself up and force Williams out of rhythm. It worked. After winning the second, Vika would ride that momentum through the third to score her first career win over the elder Williams. With titles here in 2012 and 2013 (injured last year), Victoria is now 14-0 in Doha since 2012. Should she win tomorrow, she’ll be the first player ever to earn the Qatar Total Open’s Diamond Tennis Ball – reserved for the first three-time winner of the event.

Now listen…I’m not saying that I have anything to do with this…but two weeks ago I worked Memphis where Kei Nishikori won an unprecedented third consecutive Memphis Open title. Perhaps it’s more than just a coincidence that Vika’s going for her third in-a-row here in Doha? Moving on…

Venus Williams has to be excited for the rest of her year. She defeated Caroline Wozniacki to win the Auckland title. She’s posted two wins over another top-10, Agnieszka Radwanska, to reach the Australian Open Quarters and Doha Semis. And while she couldn’t get past Victoria Azarenka Friday night, her form, tactics and endurance have been something to behold. It’s a shame there had to be a runner-up tonight…she could have easily been a favorite against Safarova, despite the loss to Lucie last week in Dubai.

The Qatar Total Open 2015 Doubles Final is set, as well. In Friday’s first match on Court-1, Americans Racquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears upset the #1-seeds and reigning US Open Champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. In the final match on Center Court, India’s Sania Mirza and Su-Wei Hsieh wasted little time in eliminating Hao-Ching Chan and Casey Dellacqua.

Saturday’s Finals start at 3:30 with [1] Su-Wei Hsieh and Sania Mirza vs. [4] Racquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears. The Singles Final will start at 6:00 with Lucie Safarova and Victoria Azarenka.

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RESULTS. Qatar Total Open 2015. Day Five. Semifinal Singles.
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d [9] Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 6-3, 6-2
[WC] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d [7] Venus Williams (USA) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4

RESULTS. Qatar Total Open 2015. Day Five. Doubles Semifinals.
[4] Racquel Kops-Jones (USA) / Abigail Spears (USA) d [2] Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) / Elena Vesnina (RUS)
6-4, 6-1
[1] Su-Wei Hseih (TPE) / Sania Mirza (IND) d Hao-Ching Chan (TPE) / Casey Dellacqua (AUS)
6-2, 6-4

Saturday. Qatar Total Open 2015. Day Six. Singles Final.
Lucie Safarova (CZE) vs. [WC] Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

Saturday. Qatar Total Open 2015. Day Six. Doubles Final.
[1] Su-Wei Hseih (TPE) / Sania Mirza (IND) vs. [4] Racquel Kops-Jones (USA) / Abigail Spears (USA)