Qatar Total Open 2014: Exhaustion. Day One.

Welcome to Day One of the Qatar Total Open 2014! Play gets underway at 3:30 local time this afternoon at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex. It will be interesting to see how many of the players perform after an intense Fed Cup weekend across the globe. Eugenie Bouchard and Karin Knapp are in the draw, despite clinching Fed Cup Ties for their countries just hours ago in Montreal and Cleveland. They very well could have to take the court immediately after collecting their luggage at the airport…

Draw Ceremony - Ana Ivanovic has to like her chances with the withdrawals of the top-2 seeds behind her.
Draw Ceremony – Ana Ivanovic has to like her chances with the withdrawals of the top-2 seeds behind her.

With the rain in Seville, the Fed Cup World Group Tie between Spain and Czech Republic continues today – impacting Carla Suarez Navarro, Lucie Safarova and Klara Zakopalova. Other Fed Cup players on their way include:

  • Agnieszka Radwanska, who clinched the World Group II Tie for Poland over Sweden yesterday
  • Alize Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic, who also clinched a World Group II Tie for France over Switzerland late Sunday
  • Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic are in the draw, after defeating the Slovak Republic for Germany’s first-berth in the Fed Cup World Group Semifinals since 1995. Dominika Cibulkova, Daniela Hantuchova, Jana Cepelova and Magdalena Rybarikova from Team Slovakia are also scheduled to play here in Doha
  • Sam Stosur clinched Australia’s World Group First Round Tie with two singles wins over Russia, advancing her country to its first World Group Semifinal since 1993 – she’s on her way
  • Romanians Simona Halep, Monica Niculescu, and Sorana Cirstea are thrilled with their performance in Budpest, advancing Romania to the World Group II Playoffs over the weekend. All three are on their way to Doha today…
  • Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, Yvonne Meusberger of Austria, and Petra Martic of Croatia also competed in Fed Cup Group I round-robin play in Budapest over the weekend. They’re all scheduled in the Qatar Total Open main draw…

That said, WTA Tournament Supervisor Tony Cho managed to create an actual order of play for Monday, featuring two prominent Americans on Center Court:

  • S Peng (CHN) vs [Q] N Petrova (RUS)
  • V Williams (USA) vs [Q] P Martic (CRO)
  • [Q] T Pironkova (BUL) vs [11] R Vinci (ITA)
  • [Q] P Cetkovska (CZE) vs [14] S Stephens (USA)

Tonight, when we start the second match after 5:30, I’ll be bugging-out to host the Players Dinner at the Four Seasons. I hope to have some interesting stories to share tomorrow…and I hope that no one falls asleep in their soup. More tomorrow!

Nadia Petrova, qualifier? She made it through to the main draw, and could score something very special with a win here in Doha: The Diamond Ball trophy…given to a player who wins the event three times. Nadia won the Qatar Total Open title twice in the same year, in two different cities. In 2006, Petrova won the Doha event by defeating France’s Amelie Mauresmo in the final 6-3, 7-5. Three months later, Petrova played in the Berlin, Germany tournament – also the Qatar Total Open (owned by the Qatar Tennis Federation) – and won the title with her 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Justine Henin of Belgium.