Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Total Open
Svetlana Kuznetsova advances to Round-2
Svetlana is one of few players who has seen first-hand Doha’s transformation from “desert oasis” to towering, urban metropolis. When she first arrived in Qatar 17-years-ago, the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex was a small island of tennis courts surrounded by sand. Today, the facility is one of dozens of gleaming sports beacons promoting an active-lifestyle in Qatar. From National Sports Day to local tournaments and Futures events that fill the calendar, Khalifa’s courts are always open. Busy year-round.
In 2003, as a 17-year-old ranked World #48, Kuznetsova reached Round-2 in her Doha debut. A year later, she won the Doha Doubles title with Elena Likhovtseva – and earned her first career win over a World #1, dispatching Justin Henin to reach the Singles Final. She returned to the championship match in 2007 – and as one of the sport’s top-8 talents, played in Qatar’s year-end WTA Final in both 2008 and 2009.
In her first match back since 2016, Svetlana had little trouble against Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay – who has tremendous memories of her own on this court (see below). Behind early breaks in sets 1 and 2, Svetlana officially launched the 2020 Qatar Total Open with an 81-minute victory.
Head to Head: Second meeting between these two players
Svetlana Kuznetsova -46- (RUS) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
In 2003, she made her Doha debut at just 17-years-old. The following year – on this very court – she earned her first career victory over a World #1, defeating Justin Henin to reach the 2004 Final; and then went-on to capture the 2004 Doubles title with partner Elena Likhovtseva. Now – 16-years-later – she is one of the most accomplished talents on Tour. A 2-time Grand Slam Singles and 2-time Grand Slam Doubles Champion, she’s also a 3-time Fed Cup Champion, and has amassed 34 Singles and Doubles titles in 73 career Finals combined. Competing her 11th Qatar Total Open, and back for the first time since 2016 – From Russia, please welcome 2-time Doha Singles Finalist and 2004 Doubles Champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova.
- R1 — W | [WC] Cagla Buyukakcay -172- (TUR) | Score: 6-2 6-2
Announcer Corner | Doha: Svetlana Kuznetsova
While Svetlana has won two WTA Premier Mandatory titles (2006 Miami Open, 2009 China Open) – she’s never won a Premier-5 title. That’s not for a lack of effort. She’s actually a 5-time Premier-5 Finalist. Including her run to Cincinnati’s championship match last August – shortly after resolving her visa issues that kept her from defending points in Washington D.C., which nearly dropped her ranking outside the top-200. While she’s a 2-time Finalist here in Doha (2004, 2007), it’s never happened with a field of 64.
Cagla Buyukakcay -172- (TUR) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
A Wild Card in this year’s draw – in 2016, she was the talk of the tournament here in Doha when she upset World #12 and defending champion Lucie Safarova to reach the 3rd-Round in her Premier-5 debut. A Turkish Trailblazer, later that year she became the first woman in Turkey’s history to win a main draw Grand Slam match – and in Rio, she became the first tennis player (male or female) to represent Turkey in the Olympic Games. Ranked as high as World #60, she owns 1 WTA Singles title, 10 ITF titles, and is a 2-time Mediterranean Games Gold Medalist. Competing in her 5th Qatar Total Open – From Turkey, please welcome Cagla Buyukakcay.
- R1 — L | Svetlana Kuznetsova -46- (RUS) | Score: 2-6, 2-6
Announcer Corner | Doha: Cagla Buyukakcay
In 2016’s Qatar Total Open, Cagla came out of nowhere. At the time, ranked outside the top-160, she put together a stoic win over veteran Lucie Hradecka in Round-1, despite losing set-2 in a tiebreak: 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2. Fired-up, she embraced her inner under-dog in Round-2, and played like there was nothing to lose. Up against the defending champ, locked-in from ball-up, Cagla dispatched World #12 Lucie Safarova in 2 tight sets: 7-6(6) 7-5.
Though she fell to Roberta Vinci in the Round of 16, the 2016 Qatar Total Open was an unforgettable Premier-5 debut for Buyukakcay. It fueled tremendous confidence. As mentioned above, she went on to rewrite Turkish sports history at both Roland Garros and the Olympic Games. She won her debut WTA title at home Istanbul. And by September, climbed to a career-high ranking of World #60.