Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Total Open
Svetlana Kuznetsova advances to the Semifinals
This year, Ons Jabeur is the main attraction in Doha. With the Jabeur vs Kvitova Quarterfinal on-deck – as tonight’s match progressed, center court began to fill with vocal Tunisians anxiously determined to will Ons on to victory. Accustomed to football’s dynamic and unfiltered atmosphere, Jabeur’s eager and excited fans found themselves challenged by tennis’ more muted decorum.
Put more bluntly – fan distraction was a pain in the ass for both Kuznetsova and Bencic. That said – in tennis, “conditions” are always the same for both players. Svetlana endured the starts and stops with greater focus, winning five straight games to take the first set and go up a break in set-2. Bencic couldn’t recover.
The truth is, the win is a big one for Svetlana. Before tonight, she never truly defeated Belinda. In their four previous meetings, Belinda won three – including their toughest clash on clay in Madrid. Kuznetsova’s only victory came when Belinda retired from their 1st-Round match 4-years-ago in Wuhan.
Head to Head: 5th meeting between these two players
Kuznetsova’s best result in 6-months
Suddenly, after three wins and a walkover, Kuznetsova finds herself in the Qatar Total Open Semifinals – her best result since that surprise run to the Premier-5 Final in Cincinnati back in August.
Just a quick reminder: In Cincinnati, Svetlana was ranked outside the top-150. Weeks earlier, she missed the chance to defend her title in Washington D.C. because her U.S. visa hadn’t been processed. Most expected her to fall in Round-1 to World #11 Anastasija Sevastova. Not only did she win that brutal match 7-6(3) 6-7(4) 6-4, she went on to upset World #10 Sloane Stephens, World #3 Karolina Pliskova and World #2 Ashleigh Barty to reach the Final.
Tonight, Svetlana is one win away from reaching her third Qatar Total Open Singles Final. Two wins away from lifting the Falcon for the first time.
Svetlana Kuznetsova -46- (RUS) | Quarterfinal 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; 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. She owns 2 Grand Slam Singles titles, 2 Major Doubles titles, is a 3-time Fed Cup Champion, and has amassed 34 Singles and Doubles titles in 73 career Finals combined. Through to this year’s Quarterfinals with wins over Cagla Buyukakcay, Iga Swiatek, and a walkover in the Round of 16 – From Russia, please welcome 2-time Doha Singles Finalist, Svetlana Kuznetsova.
- QF — W |  Belinda Bencic -09- (SUI) | Score: 6-4, 6-4
- R3 — wo | Amanda Anisimova -29- (USA) | walkover | RECAP
- R2 — W | Iga Swiatek -50- (POL) | Score: 6-2 6-2 | RECAP
- R1 — W | [WC] Cagla Buyukakcay -172- (TUR) | Score: 6-2 6-2 | RECAP
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.
 Belinda Bencic -09- (SUI) | Quarterfinal Announcer Introduction
This year’s #4-seed – she’s through to Doha’s Quarterfinals for the first time, after a deciding-set tiebreak win over Veronika Kudermetova in Round-2 and Yulia Putintseva last night. No stranger to success in the Arabian Gulf – 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, is a 10-time Finalist – 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.
- QF — L | Svetlana Kuznetsova -46- (RUS) | Score: 4-6, 4-6
- R3 — W | Yulia Putintseva -32- (KAZ) | Score: 6-4, 6-3 | RECAP
- 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.