Announcer for the 2021 Qatar Total Open, Andy Taylor recaps Petra Kvitova’s second Doha championship victory over Garbiñe Muguruza. Three years ago, Petra captured her 22nd career title in a thrilling 3-set battle, after falling behind 0-5 by the second changeover. Tonight, Kvitova completely dominated after the second changeover — allowing Garbiñe only a single game the rest of way. With her 20th match victory in Doha, Petra Kvitova now owns 28 career WTA Singles titles. She and Victoria Azarenka are the only 3-time Finalists and 2-time champions in Qatar Total Open history.
Sixth meeting. Second championship match in Doha.
This was the 6th career meeting between these two Grand Slam Champions. Before tonight, they last met on this court 3-years-ago in the championship match of the 2018 Qatar Total Open — where Petra Kvitova won the title in a deciding set.
 Petra Kvitova -10- (CZE) | Championship Announcer Introduction
The champion in 2018, 3-years-ago she lifted Doha’s Falcon after defeating World #1 Caroline Wozniacki in the Semi’s — then came back from a 0-5 first-set deficit to capture the title. Last year on this court, she defeated World #1 Ashleigh Barty in the Semi’s, earning a spot in her 2nd Doha Final. Tonight, she becomes only the second player in Qatar Total Open history to reach the championship match 3-times. In all, she owns 27 career Singles titles, has been ranked as high as World #2, is a 2-time Wimbledon Champion, a 6-time Billie Jean King Cup Champion, and an Olympic Bronze Medalist. From the Czech Republic, please welcome 3-time Doha Finalist and 2018 Qatar Total Open Champion, Petra Kvitova.
- FF — W — Garbiñe Muguruza -16- (ESP) | Score: 6-2, 6-1
- SF — W — [Q] Jessica Pegula -44- (USA) | Score: 6-4, 6-4 | RECAP
- QF — W — Anett Kontaveit -24- (EST) | Score: 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 | RECAP
- R2 — W — Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova -41- (RUS) | Score: 6-1, 6-3 | RECAP
- R1 — BYE
Garbiñe Muguruza -16- (ESP) | Championship Announcer Introduction
A Finalist here in 2018 – tonight, she returns to Doha’s championship match in pursuit of her 8th WTA Singles title. Behind determined wins this week over Veronika Kudermetova, defending champion Aryna Sabalenka, and the surging Maria Sakkari – she is fit, focused and determined for a championship rematch 3-years in the making. A 2-time Grand Slam Champion, 4-time Major Finalist, and former World #1 – tonight marks her second WTA-500 Final of 2021. Last month, she reached the championship match of the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne. From Spain, please welcome 2-time Qatar Total Open Finalist, Garbiñe Muguruza.
- FF — L —  Petra Kvitova -10- (CZE) | Score: 2-6, 1-6
- SF — w/o — [8/WC] Victoria Azarenka -14- (BLR) | WALKOVER
- QF — W — Maria Sakkari -25- (GRE) | Score: 6-3, 6-1 | RECAP
- R2 — W —  Aryna Sabalenka -08- (BLR) | Score: 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3 | RECAP
- R1 — W — Veronika Kudermetova -34- (RUS) | Score: 6-2, 7-6(4) | RECAP
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 reinvented 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” announcer 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.