Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Total Open
Belinda Bencic advances to the Quarterfinals
Solid victory for the 4-seed Belinda Bencic, after a punishing deciding-set battle with Veronika Kudermetova the night before. Yulia Putintsova also had a tough match yesterday, knocking-off defending Doha champion Elise Mertens in 3-sets.
This is Belinda’s first Qatar Total Open since 2016 — when as the World #7, she fell in Round-1 to Coco Vandeweghe. In fact, before this week, she’d never won a main draw match in Doha.
The champion last year in Dubai, winning the title this week would essentially be a Premier-5 Arabian Gulf title defense for Belinda, but she doesn’t see it that way. During the winner’s interview, Bencic said she was just happy to be in the Qatar Total Open Quarterfinals for the first time, in pursuit of her 3rd Premier-5 title (Rogers Cup 2015, Dubai 2019).
Putintseva: Never an easy out for Bencic
In their previous match last March in Miami, Putintseva scored a major upset. It was a discouraging loss for Bencic, who had just made a Semifinal run at Indian Wells, after capturing the Premier-5 title in Dubai. At the time, Bencic was hot. She had earned six top-10 victories in just 3-weeks, catapulting 25-spots in the rankings. For the first time since 2016, she was back in the top-20. Her 3-year struggle with wrist injuries was over. In the end, the loss to Putintseva was mostly due to exhaustion — she quickly recovered, and by season’s end cracked the top-10.
Head to Head: 5th meeting between these two players
 Belinda Bencic -09- (SUI) | Round of 16 Announcer Introduction
This year’s #4-seed – Yesterday on Court-1, she battled Veronika Kudermetova for 2-hours and 38-minutes, earning the win in a deciding-set tiebreak – and tonight, makes her Doha Round of 16 debut. No stranger to success during the WTA’s Arab Swing – last year in Dubai, she captured her 2nd WTA Premier-5 title – earning four top-10 victories to lift the trophy. She’s a Grand Slam Semifinalist, owns 4 WTA Singles titles – and earlier this month, cracked the WTA’s top-5 for the first time. Back in Doha for her 3rd Qatar Total Open – from Switzerland, please welcome Belinda Bencic.
- R3 — W | Yulia Putintseva -32- (KAZ) | Score: 6-4, 6-3
- R2 — W | Veronika Kudermetova -39- (RUS) | Score: 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4) | RECAP
- R1 — BYE
Announcer Corner | Doha: Belinda Bencic
A wrist injury, surgery and recovery kept Belinda Bencic away from Doha in 2017 and 2018. Last year, after a Fed Cup World Group Quarterfinal win over Italy, she chose to skip the Qatar Total Open to rest-up for the Premier-5 event in Dubai. It was a wise choice. Not only did she capture her 4th WTA Singles title, she went on to reach the Semifinals in Indian Wells. From Fed Cup to the middle of March, she won 12 consecutive matches – SIX of those wins were over top-10 opponents. That’s a mind-blowing 6-weeks.
Bencic made her Doha debut five-years-ago at just 17-years-old. Francesca Schiavone took her out in the opening round of qualifying. The following year she returned as the World #7, and fell in Round-1 to American Coco Vandeweghe.
Yulia Putintseva -32- (KAZ) | Round of 16 Announcer Introduction
Yesterday, in a 2-hour deciding-set battle on Court-3, she upset defending Doha champion Elise Mertens – and is through to the Round of 16 at a WTA Premier-5 event for the first time. Ranked as high as World #27, she’s a 2-time Grand Slam Quarterfinalist – and last year, captured her first WTA Singles title in Nürnberg. She also earned the biggest win of her career last year, defeating World #1 Naomi Osaka in Birmingham – then AGAIN in the 1st-Round at Wimbeldon. Competing in her 6th Qatar Total Open and making her Doha Round-3 debut — From Kazakhstan, please welcome Yulia Putintseva.
- R3 — L |  Belinda Bencic -09- (SUI) | Score: 4-6, 3-6
- R2 — W |  Elise Mertens -23- (BEL) | Score: 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 | RECAP
- R1 — W | [LL] Timea Babos -98- (HUN) | Score: 6-3, 6-4 | RECAP
Announcer Corner | Doha: Yulia Putintseva
Overall, it was another positive week for Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. Tonight was her Round of 16 debut at the Premier-5 level. It was the first time she won back-to-back matches in Doha. Originally, she was scheduled to face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Round-1, an opponent she’s never beaten. Instead – after Anastasia’s withdrawal – she blasted through Lucky Loser Timea Babos, then upset Doha’s defending champion Elise Mertens.
But the truth is — this isn’t the only career-first Yulia’s enjoyed in Doha. Seven years ago, as an 18-year-old ranked just inside the top-100, she eared two qualifying victories to reach the main draw of a Premier-5 event for the first time.