Julia Goerges -10- (GER) def Lucie Safarova -31- (CZE) 61 75
On paper, “Goerges v Safarova” was billed to thrill. Julia won her 5th career title week-one of the season in Auckland, reached the Semifinals in St. Petersburg and carried a career-best ranking of World #10 into the match. Lucie is a former Doha champion who defeated Goerges in two tie-break sets during their most recent battle in the 1st-Round of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships.
An Opening Whimper
Goerges allowed Safarova only one game in the first set. The German won three games to start the match, then ended set-1 with three straight games again.
In just 23-minutes, the day’s anticipated thriller deflated like a month-old balloon.
The former champ steps up in set-2
The second set fit the bill. Both held through 2-all, when Goerges earned her third break of the match. Undeterred, Safarova broke right back after the changeover and fought to the finish. At 5-all, Julia’s confidence fueled by 5-months of suceess (see her bio below), overpowered the 5-time Grand Slam Doubles Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist. Goerges won three straight games again to reach Round-2.
A solid victory
After the match, Julia Goerges was as surprised as anyone that she blasted through the first set so quickly. With the run she’s had since October, it’s no surprise that Julia is playing with peak confidence. With three titles in three months, having a winning reputation infect the psychology of upcoming opponents certainly helps, as well.
Though this is only her 5th Qatar Total Open, Julia made her debut in Doha 11-years-ago as an 18-year-old qualifying Wild Card. Remarkably, she won four consecutive matches that year to reach the Round 16 – her best Doha run to date.
Up Next: Barbora Strycova
Even with confidence at an all-time high, Julia can’t look past her next opponent. She and long-time doubles partner Barbora Strycova have played 10-times. Goerges won just four of those matches. Strycova has won four straight – including a deciding-set Quarterfinal win in Biel, a 64 60 rout in Prague, and a 64 62 victory in Beijing – all last year
This 29-year-old comes into this year’s Qatar Total Open with a career-high ranking of #10 in the World. She started 2018 the same way she ended 2017 – by lifting trophies. Last October, she ended the season by winning back-to-back titles; first in Moscow, then at the year-end WTA Elite Trophy in China. In January, she started the new year by winning career Singles title #5, defeating World #3 Caroline Wozniacki in straight-sets. Then 2-weeks-ago, she played through to the St. Petersburg Semifinals and cracked the WTA’s top-10 for the first time. Now a 12-time Tour-Level Finalist; remarkably, she reached five of those Finals last year alone. She’s also a 5-time Doubles champion, in 17 career finals – including the 2016 WTA Finals Singapore. Competing in her 5th Qatar Total Open, from Germany – Please welcome the #10 Player in the World, Julia Goerges
3-years-ago, this 31-year-old Grand Slam Finalist and Olympic Bronze Medalist defeated 2-time Doha Champion Victoria Azarenka on this court to win the biggest singles title of her of career. That year, she’d go on to reach her first Major Final at Roland Garros and crack the WTA’s top-5 for the first time. She now owns 7 WTA Singles titles; and last year in Budapest, played in her 17th career Singles Final. Currently the World #7 in Doubles, she’s a 5-time Grand Slam Doubles Champion; and in 2016, won Doubles Olympic Bronze in Rio and reached the championship match at the year-end WTA Finals Singapore. Remarkably, she’s a 4-time Fed Cup Champion – and over the weekend, heled lift the Czech Republic to it’s 10th consecutive World Group Semifinal. Making her 9th appearance in Doha, from the Czech Republic – Please welcome 2015 Qatar Total Open Champion, Lucie Safarova