Doha 2017: Day-2. Only One Match Completed

Photo: Alexis Fernandez Torregrosa

Doha Rain: Alexis Fernandez Torregrosa

Happy Valentine’s Day. Coming-in to the Qatar Total Open 2017, I was convinced Fed Cup fatigue would be the big story. After Day-2, it has become increasingly clear that the mental fatigue of rain-related uncertainty may play the most profound impact on outcome.

Yesterday’s rain cancelled the day’s final 1st-Round match on center court. Tournament Supervisor Tony Cho elected to start Day-2 at 2:00p, rather than 3:30p…with hopes we would be able to complete a handful of matches. By the end of the day, 3 of the 12 scheduled matches were suspended and 8 were cancelled. As we roll into Day-3 tomorrow, only two 1st-Round singles matches have been completed, and the forecast doesn’t look promising.
 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) def. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 6-1, 6-4

Anastasia Pavyluchenkova: Only the second 1st-Round match completed

Anastasia Pavyluchenkova

Now ranked #50 in the world, former World #1 and 3-time Doha Semifinalist Jelena Jankovic had to battle just to earn a spot in the Qatar Total Open main-draw. After her 3-set win over Tsvetana Pironkova yesterday, she talked about how unusual it was to work her way through qualifying…and “I had to get a wild card just to qualify!” The last time she qualified for a tournament? 13-years ago.

Working with former Argentine counter-puncher Guillermo Canas, her three qualifying wins took effort; more effort than they should have required. During coaching time-outs, their exasperated exchanges seemed to leave question marks as to whether this is a partnership that will endure. Mutual stubbornness may be their most challenging road block.

Tuesday’s rain subsided long enough to start center court’s first match on-time (2:00p). Anastasia Pavyluchenkova won the toss, both held serve through the first sit-down, then Nastia ran away with the set while Jelena struggled with string issues.

RAIN. At deuce in the first game of the second set, rain interrupted play. After 6:00p they managed to complete five more games before rain interrupted play again. At 8:50p, they were back on court for a third time. Up a break, Anastasia served out the match to advance to the Round of 16.

Match time: 1-hour and 24-minutes. Include the rain delays: the match took over 7-hours to complete.

NEXT: [3] Dominika Cibulkova
 

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Kiki Bertens (NED) 2-2, susp.

Caroline Wozniacki: She'll have to play two matches tomorrow

Caroline Wozniacki

World #23 Kiki Bertens had a rough weekend in Minsk. The Netherlands was favored to win its Fed Cup World Group Quarterfinal Tie versus a Belarussian Team without Victoria Azarenka…but Kiki and Michaella Krajicek struggled against two talents ranked outside the top-100: Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Kiki leveled the Tie with a win over Sabalenka on Saturday, but fell in straight-sets to Sasnovich on Sunday. Belarus earned the win 4-1 over Holland, and advanced to the Fed Cup World Group Semifinals for the first time.

With little rest after hustling to get to Doha, Kiki then spent most of Tuesday wondering if she’d even take the court for her 1st-Round match. After waiting through countless rain delays, she and Caroline Wozniacki – who has been in Doha for nearly a week – finally took the court after Anastasia Pavyluchenkova’s victory.

Kiki started with a break. Caroline responded with a break of her own after the first sit-down. At 2-all, the rain came again. An hour later, at 10:45p, Tony Cho suspended play for the day.
 

The Question: Can we complete this tournament on time?

With only two 1st-Round matches completed, this 6-day tournament has become a 4-day sprint. No doubt, several players will be forced to take-on two matches a day to complete the event on time. Those playing both singles and doubles could see days where they’re forced to play three, perhaps even four matches. Crazy.

Tuesday’s three suspended matches that will carry over to Wednesday:

  • C. Wozniacki (DEN) vs K. Bertens (NED) 22
  • [Q] L. Davis (USA) leads R. Vinci (ITA) 62 11
  • I. Begu (ROU) leads D. Kasatkina (RUS) 53

As you’ll see in the order of play, matches are scheduled to begin tomorrow at 11:00a on all five available courts. We will start with the TEN remaining 1st-Round matches. By 3:30p (weather permitting), the Round of 16 begins. Several players will have to battle through two matches on Wednesday. Others who are also playing doubles, like Barbora Strycova, are scheduled to play three matches.