Shortly after 12:00am, the WTA’s first Premier 5 Event of 2016 solidified its 2nd-round, as Svetlana Kuznetsova exacted revenge on Germany’s Julia Goerges. Last week, Julia dominated Svetlana in Dubai, winning 9-games before Kuznetsova could even put points on the board. Tonight, despite being down a break in the first, Svetlana used frustration as fuel to eliminate the German 6-3, 6-3. After the match, a self-deprecatory Kuznetsova said it didn’t take much to improve on her lackluster performance a week prior, and was pleased with the way she consistently battled through long rallies. Oddly enough – Svetlana is now coached by Anastasia Myskina, who defeated Kuznetseva in the 2004 Doha final.
Monday started with Roberta Vinci’s first win as a top-10 player on the WTA Tour. She dominated Lesia Tsurenko in just over an hour 6-2, 6-1. The truth is, in the first set, Lesia was playing solid tennis, but Roberta was simply better…in every way. Roberta’s defense was impenetrable; couple that with accurate precision when each and every opportunity presented itself, and you have a 33-year-old strolling into Doha’s second round. Hey – a career high ranking? Just days removed from winning her first Premier level title in St. Petersburg? She has nothing to complain about!
Caroline Wozniacki advanced, but she seriously struggled. Her father Piotr made three courtside trips during the match to remind Caroline that she is currently the World #22. Her opponent? #81. Regardless, Konjuh played a hell of a match and got in the Dane’s head. In fact, Ana earned two breaks before the first sit-down to go up 3-0. She’d win set-1 6-4. Two Papa Piotr trips later, Wozniacki delivered the second 6-3. In the decider, Caroline couldn’t close. She broke to go up 5-2, but Ana would win the next three games. At the 2:30-mark and 9 match points later, Wozniacki finally advanced 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. She was visibly unhappy with herself during the post match interview, but at least there was SOMETHING to smile about…
Center court’s third match featured a fearless Jana Cepelova terrorize Jelena Jankovic. The first set featured five breaks of serve. Jelena would win it 6-4. In the second, Cepelova broke to start the set. Game-2 lasted nearly 10-minutes before Jankovic broke back. The match suddenly turned into a test of fitness and endurance as baseline rallies routinely rattled well past 20-strokes. Up 6-5, Jelena squandered a match point on Jana’s serve and Cepelova forced the tie-break, eventually earning the set 7-6(5). Jankovic was furious with herself, but as it turns out, somewhere in the tie-break, Cepelova pulled an abdominal muscle and was helpless in the third. Jankovic won it 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-0. She’ll play Monica Niculescu next, who defeated Jelena here in Doha three years back. She referred to Niculescu as the “Female Santoro” in our post match interview. We’ll see how she handles “The Magician” tomorrow.
The day’s surprises and upsets – if we can even call them that after this “everyone wins a trophy” season we’re having so far on the WTA Tour:
- Caroline Garcia’s loss to [Q] Elena Vesnina
-  Elina Svitolina’s loss to Denisa Allertova
RESULTS. Qatar Total Open 2016. Day Two. 1st-Round Singles.
-  R. Vinci (ITA) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 62 61
-  T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d B. Mattek-Sands (USA) 67(7) 61 63
-  S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d J. Goerges (GER) 63 63
-  C. Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] A. Konjuh (CRO) 46 63 75
-  J. Jankovic (SRB) d [Q] J. Cepelova (SVK) 64 67(5) 60
- D. Allertova (CZE) d  E. Svitolina (UKR) 75 64
-  S. Errani (ITA) d T. Pironkova (BUL) 16 75 63
- B. Strycova (CZE) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 63 64
- N. Hibino (JPN) d Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 63 67(5) 63
- T. Babos (HUN) d M. Brengle (USA) 36 75 60
- C. Vandeweghe (USA) d [Q] K. Flipkens (BEL) 75 62
- M. Niculescu (ROU) d S. Lisicki (GER) 62 62
- D. Gavrilova (AUS) d M. Doi (JPN) 61 61
- [Q] E. Vesnina (RUS) d C. Garcia (FRA) 63 75
RESULTS. Qatar Total Open 2016. Day Two. 1st-Round Doubles.
-  R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d [WC] F. Al Nabhani (OMA) / V. Lepchenko (USA) 61 64
-  A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d [WC] S. Halep (ROU) / I. Olaru (ROU) 75 64
- Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) d C. Chuang (TPE) / O. Kalashnikova (GEO) 64 62
- D. Kasatkina (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) d V. Dushevina (RUS) / K. Siniakova (CZE) 64 75
- [PR] C. Chan (TPE) / K. Marosi (HUN) d L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) 62 64
- M. Gasparyan (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d D. Hantuchova (SVK) / E. Makarova (RUS) 46 75 10-3