Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Total Open
Garbiñe Muguruza advances to Round-2
Yes, Garbiñe Muguruza climbed Mount Kilamanjaro during the off-season. Yes, the euphoric life-altering achievement inspired a brilliant run at the Australian Open (her 4th Major Final, first since winning Wimbledon in 2017). But no, those back-to-back physical and mental triumphs haven’t helped her solve the relentless riddle of Daria Kasatkina.
Behold today’s match recap, and glance back at their previous meetings.
These matches are predictably…unpredictable. Thanks to 9 breaks in a dozen opportunities, Muguruza barely won it in just under 3-hours. The match should’ve been over at 5-4 in the 2nd, but Kasatkina saved match point, earned the break, and ultimately forced a deciding set – where neither could hold.
If this year’s Australian Open Finalist (and 2018 Doha Finalist) is to return to the championship match, she simply needs to serve better. Daria Kasatkina had 28 break chances during the match, converting eight.
Head to Head: Fifth meeting between these two players
Garbiñe Muguruza -16- (ESP) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
During the off-season, this 2-time Grand Slam Champion and former World #1 challenged herself in ways very few dare to venture – she summited the roof of Africa, and climbed Mount Kilamanjaro. What she found at the peak…is between her and the mountain. But it clearly lit a fire, and the results speak for themselves. Last month at the Australian Open, she reached her 4th Grand Slam Final, and has leapt nearly 20-spots in the rankings – winning 13 of her 17 matches so far this season. Now a 12-time Finalist, she owns 7 Singles titles – and 2-years-ago, reached her 3rd Premier-5 Final right here in Doha. Back for her 5th Qatar Total Open – From Spain, please welcome 2018 Finalist, Garbiñe Muguruza.
- R1 — W | [Q] Daria Kasatkina -71- (RUS) | Score: 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
Announcer Corner | Doha: Garbiñe Muguruza
Before her 2018 run to the Final, Garbiñe Muguruza started working with 2004 Doha Doubles Finalist Conchita Martinez. By all appearances, it was a player coach relationship that was working. However, the two parted ways later that Summer, during a disappointing hard-court swing in the States. Then, 2019 proved to be a rough patch for the former World #1. By November, Garbiñe dropped outside the top-30.
So, during the off-season – Muguruza and Martinez decided to give the relationship another go. Clearly it paid off. With a Semifinal run in Shenzhen, another Major Final, and confident ground strokes setting-up consistency at the net – Muguruza is back in form. To get another shot at the Falcon would be another huge boost to an already successful 2020.
[Q] Daria Kasatkina -71- (RUS) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
4-years-ago, in her Qatar Total Open debut, this 2-time Grand Slam Quarterfinalist turned heads here in Doha as an 18-year-old kid crushing volleys alongside doubles partner Elena Vesnina. The two upset legends Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza to reach the 2016 Doubles Semifinals. A year later, at just 19, she stunned World #2 Angelique Kerber on this court to reach the 2017 Singles Quarterfinals. Since then, she’s won 2 WTA Singles titles, is a 5-time Finalist, owns 2 victories over World #1’s, and has been ranked as high as World #10. Back in Doha, competing in her 4th Qatar Total Open – From Russia, please welcome Daria Kasatkina.
- R1 — L |  Garbiñe Muguruza -16- (ESP) | Score: 5-7, 7-5, 3-6
- Q2 — W | Aliaksandra Sasnovich -114- (BLR) | Score: 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 | RECAP
- Q1 — W | Natalia Vikhlyantseva -123- (RUS) | Score: 6-7, 6-4, 4-0 (RET) | RECAP
Announcer Corner | Doha: Daria Kasatkina
4-years-ago, Daria earned fans in Qatar as a hungry 18-year-old working the net alongside Elena Vesnina. All eyes were on Elena that year. As the World #118, Vesnina had won a pair of qualifiers, only to upset Caroline Garcia, World #4 Simona Halep, and Caroline Wozniacki to reach the Singles Quarterfinals. At the same time, she and Daria won their way through the doubles draw, dispatching Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza to reach the Doubles Semi’s.
A year later, and on her own, Daria deployed Elena’s mojo – upsetting World #2 Angelique Kerber to reach Doha’s Singles Quarterfinals. It was her second win over Angelique in as many months (beat a World #1 Kerber a month earlier in Sydney’s 2nd-Round). Those two huge victories propelled Daria to her first WTA title in Charleston. And a year later, her first Premier Mandatory Final at Indian Wells. She capped the 2018 season with a career-high ranking of World #10, and held on to that top-10 ranking for 13-weeks.