Round 1. Kontaveit def Brady

Announcer for the 2021 Qatar Total Open, Andy Taylor recaps Annet Kontaveit’s Round-1 victory over Australian Open Finalist Jennifer Brady.

Announcer Andy Taylor. Qatar Total Open 2021. Round 1 Anett Kontaveit defeats Jennifer Brady Match Recap

Second meeting. Kontaveit remains undefeated against Brady

Announcer Andy Taylor. Qatar Total Open 2021. Anett Kontaveit and Jennifer Brady Head to Head

Anett Kontaveit -24- (EST) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction

Estonia’s top-talent – Last month, after enduring two weeks of hard-lockdown in Melbourne, she reached her 7th WTA Tour-level Final at the Grampian’s Trophy before the start of the Australian Open. 4-years-ago, she captured her first WTA Singles title on the grass in s’Hertogenbosch – a year later, reached her first WTA-1000 Final in Wuhan, made her debut at the year-end WTA Elite Trophy – and by early 2019, climbed to a career-high ranking of World #14, becoming the highest ranked player in her country’s history. Back in Doha as the World #24, competing in her 4th Qatar Total Open – from Estonia, please welcome Anett Kontaveit.

  • R1 — W — [7] Jennifer Brady -13- (USA) | Score: 6-1, 6-2

[7] Jennifer Brady -13- (USA) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction

Last year, just after she arrived in Doha, she cracked the WTA’s top-50 for the first time. Tonight, she returns as the World #13 – just 9-days after reaching her first Grand Slam Final at the Australian Open. 2020 was a year of firsts for all of us – but for this top-3 American talent, it was extraordinary. She started the season as a qualifier in Brisbane, earning her first top-10 victory over World #1 Ashleigh Barty. In the sport’s first event after the Pandemic Freeze, she won her debut WTA Singles title, reached her first Grand Slam Semifinal at the US Open, and finished the season with a year-end ranking inside the top-25. Back in Doha for her 3rd Qatar Total Open, from the United States, please welcome Australian Open Finalist Jennifer Brady.

  • R1 — L — Anett Kontaveit -24- (EST) | Score: 1-6, 2-6

Announcer Andy Taylor. Qatar Total Open 2021. Doha Celebration
Announcer Andy Taylor | Voice of the 2021 Qatar Total Open | Tennis Hosting in Doha, Qatar

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2021 Qatar Total Open: Different Date. Unusual Circumstances.

In 2021, due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, the WTA Tour rescheduled the Qatar Total Open to take place the first week of March. A portion of the season typically carved-out for week-1 of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. When Indian Wells postponed its tournament due to COVID-19’s continued threat to the Coachella Valley, the Tour was forced to reinvent the 2021 calendar.

As a result, in January Abu Dhabi hosted the season’s first event. A WTA-500 tournament specifically created to get players back on court. Dubai then hosted Australian Open qualifying, while main-draw entrants traveled to Australia for two weeks of quarantine. Meanwhile, Tennis Australia moved the Australian Open to the second week of February to accommodate the country’s strict pandemic protocols. Immediately following quarantine, the WTA hosted several new tournaments in Melbourne Park. All designed as lead-up events to the season’s first Major. After Oz, Adelaide hosted its postponed tournament, while most traveled to the Arab Gulf to prepare for the Qatar Total Open and Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Doha: Rebranded in 2021 from Premier to a WTA-500 Tournament

The WTA also rebranded the 2021 Qatar Total Open a WTA-500 event, after the Tour realigned its tournament tier structure during the off-season. Rather than International, Premier, Premier-5 and Premier Mandatory; starting in 2021, all WTA events became classified as WTA-250, WTA-500 and WTA-1000 tournaments (similar to the ATP Tour).

Moving forward, the Qatar Total Open and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will continue to alternate the WTA’s two Arab Gulf events. More specifically, on “even” years the Qatar Total Open will host the WTA-1000 event with a field of 64. Consequently, during “odd” years, it will feature a WTA-500 event with a field of 32.

Coronavirus: Delivering a top-shelf international event responsibly

While the Qatar Tennis Federation allowed fans to attend the 2021 Qatar Total Open, the QTF sold tickets at reduced capacity. All wore masks, encountered temperature checks upon arrival, and adhered to social-distancing guidelines – required to sit several seats apart.

Players, WTA staff and umpires lived in their own “bubble” at the Four Seasons. Meanwhile, tournament support, lines-people, ball persons and the announcer stayed in a separate “bubble” at Ezdan Palace. All underwent routine coronavirus testing and regular temperature checks. Everyone was required to wear masks at all times (except players and umpires during competition). The locker-room was off-limits for the athletes until their match was on-deck, and none were allowed to shower on site. Every aspect of post-match recovery took place at the player hotel.

Pandemic Event Hosting: Champions adjust

From behind-the-scenes pandemic protocols to extreme “socially-distanced” on-court interviews and trophy presentations – the Qatar Tennis Federation and WTA adhered to every science-guided precaution to ensure the safety of all involved. And by doing so, despite all of the obvious challenges, delivered another top-shelf experience for both players and fans on site and those watching around the world.

Hosting high-profile international events during a devastating pandemic is possible. That is, when organizers have the courage, compassion and ingenuity to reinvent the way things are done; when they have the flexibility and financial support to adjust expectation. And as we’ve all learned after one year of separation, isolation, anxiety and heart-break: the “escape” that televised sports provides is invaluable to mental health. A welcome distraction to a very un-welcome new reality.