Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Total Open
SaiSai Zheng returns to the Quarterfinals for first time since 2016
Tonight, SaiSai Zheng earned another huge Singles victory on center court in Doha. 4-years-ago, she upset World #2, top-seed and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, then Genie Bouchard to reach her first Premier-5 Quarterfinal. This evening, it was World #6 Kiki Berten’s turn.
After losing 5 consecutive games in set-1, Zheng dug-in. Nearly every point featured a grueling rally, punctuated by Zheng’s crafty drops and stunning misdirection. By the end of the third set, Bertens was out of answers – and energy. With a final break, Zheng lifted her arms in triumph, and hopped into her coach’s box for a championship-esque celebration with Alan Ma.
Holy shit. It’s been a sensational 8-months for SaiSai Zheng.
- May – At Roland Garros, she reached her first Grand Slam Doubles Final with partner YinYin Duan – a career goal since turning professional 12-years-ago.
- August – Captured her first WTA Singles title in San Jose, thanks to determined top-10 victory over Aryna Sabalenka in Final.
- October – Climbed to a career-high ranking of World #36, and finished the season with a Semifinal run in Singles at the WTA Elite Trophy as a Wild Card
- January – Opened the new year by reaching her 9th WTA Doubles Final in Shenzhen.
- February – On Saturday night, reached her 10th WTA Doubles Final in Dubai.
This week, she teamed with Shuai Zhang in the Doubles draw, but the pair fell in Round-1 to Andrea Klepac and Lucie Hradecka. No worries. This is Doha, where Zheng has earned two of the biggest Singles wins of her career. Next up, she’ll face Aryna Sabalenka: A rematch of last August’s San Jose Final, where she won her first career Singles title. Intriguing.
Head to Head: 3rd meeting between these two players
Did SaiSai Zheng benefit from a last-minute court change?
Originally, Zheng and Bertens were to play on Court-1. Sventlana Kuznetsova and 18-year-old American Amanda Anisimova were lined-up for center court’s second Round of 16 match. However, Amanda withdrew from the tournament with G.I. issues shortly after ball-up in today’s first match on center court (Kvitova’s windy win over Ostapenko). Perhaps leftover mojo from the 2016 Kerber upset boosted Zheng’s belief.
SaiSai Zheng -37- (CHN) | Round of 16 Announcer Introduction
Last year, she captured her first WTA Singles title in San Jose, and reached her first Grand Slam Final – reaching the doubles championship at Roland Garros with partner Duan YinYin. 4-years-ago here in Doha, she earned one of the biggest wins of her career – upsetting World #2 and the Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber. She then beat Genie Bouchard to reach the Quarterfinals of a Premier-5 event for the first time. Competing in her 4th Qatar Total Open, she earned wins over Marketa Vondrousova and former champion Vera Zvonareva to reach today’s R16 match. From China, please welcome Zheng SaiSai.
- R3 — W |  Kiki Bertens -06- (NED) | Score: 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
- R2 — W | [WC] Vera Zvonareva -101- (RUS) | Score: 7-5, 6-1 | RECAP
- R1 — W |  Marketa Vondrousova -18- (CZE) | Score: 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 | RECAP
Announcer Corner | Doha: SaiSai Zheng
Two of SaiSai Zheng’s biggest career Singles victories have happened on center court in Doha. She’s a legit threat in Qatar. Keep an eye on Zheng during the remainder of the season. In 2016, after her huge upset here over Kerber, she went on to defeat World #5 Agnieszka Radwanska in the opening round of the Summer Games in Rio.
 Kiki Bertens -06- (NED) | Round of 16 Announcer Introduction
Just 10 days ago, she captured her 10th WTA Singles title in St. Petersburg – And Monday, learned that she’s jumped from World #8 to World #6. Last season, she won the biggest title of her career in Madrid, winning 6-straight matches without dropping a set. In fact, she won 2-titles in 2019, reached 5-Finals, cracked the WTA’s top-5 for the first time – and at the year-end WTA Finals Shenzhen, upset World #1 Ashleigh Barty. A Quarterfinalist here in Doha last year, she defeated Karolina Muchova on Monday night to reach today’s Round of 16 Match. Competing in her 3rd Qatar Total Open – From the Netherlands, please welcome Kiki Bertens.
- R3 — L | SaiSai Zheng -37- (CHN) | Score: 6-3, 3-6, 4-6
- R2 — W | Karolina Muchova -27- (CZE) | Score: 6-2, 6-4 | RECAP
- R1 — BYE
Announcer Corner | Doha: Kiki Bertens
Kiki made her Qatar Total Open debut during a rain-soaked 2017, falling in the opening round to eventual finalist Caroline Wozniacki. After skipping 2018, she returned last year to earn her first two Doha victories over Camila Giorgi and 2016 Champion Carla Suarez Navarro. In the Quarterfinals, she fell to eventual champion Elise Mertens.
Tough loss to swallow tonight after winning the St. Petersburg title and Monday’s rankings-jump.