Doha: Day-5. The Quarterfinals

Holy Mother of God. Agnieszka Radwanska and Roberta Vinci. If this were basketball, tonight’s quarterfinal would have been a Harlem Globetrotters game. Highly entertaining, beyond competitive, loaded with “You have GOT to be kidding me!” highlights from both players.

Agnieszka Radwanska

Thursday’s nightcap initially looked like a runaway win for Roberta Vinci. Since defeating Serena Williams in the US Open Semifinals last September, winning her first Premier title in St. Petersburg, and cracking the top-10 for the first time in her career on Monday…why not knock off the World #3 in Doha? She’d take the first set 6-3. After off-setting breaks to start the second, Radwanska began spreading her magic dust all over the court, peppering play with impossible highlights. She’d win the last five games of the set to force a decider 6-2. In the third, Agnieszka continued “not missing,” despite Roberta’s own on-court sorcery. Up two-breaks by the second sit-down, Radwanska would close it out 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. This was a RIDICULOUSLY good match in a season that’s seen mostly head-scratching upsets on the WTA tour.
NEXT: Carla Suarez Navarro

Andrea Petkovic

How great is it to see Andrea Petkovic back in a Semifinal? After four solid, straight-sets wins here in Doha, she had her first true test of the season: How to maintain momentum against a top-5 Garbine Muguruza in a Premier-5 quarterfinal? After a dominant 28-minute first set, it looked like Andrea had all the answers. Garbine then took an extended “medical timeout” on the set-break to get her head right. These two had played twice before – two Petkovic wins – and by all appearances, Petkovic was in Garbine’s head before they ever walked on court. Muguruza held-on through the second. She broke Andrea after the first sit-down and leapt out to a 5-2 lead; but the German would save a set-point, break back and level it at 5-all. Disgusted with herself, Garbine unleashed an assault of thundering forehands, and managed to steal the second on a break 7-5. In the third, Petkovic had all the answers. While Muguruza was left barking at her coach: “Tell me something I don’t know!”, Andrea Petkovic danced into her first Semifinal since back-to-back SF’s in Miami and Charleston last year. Final: 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. It was her first top-10 win since 2013, when she defeated Victoria Azarenka in the first round of the China Open.
NEXT: Jelena Ostapenko

In our post-match interview, I told Andrea that a lot of the commentary across networks over the past week had been focused on how intelligent she was. She said that was great, but she wished they’d be talking more about her tennis. I said: “Well, that’s kind of the point – the question would be…does that intelligence help you or hurt you during a match?” Without hesitation, she acknowledged that it hurts her game, as she completely overthinks every shot rather than playing in the moment. Regarding her Semifinal opponent, 18-year-old Jelena Ostapenko: She knew big moments would come from the Latvian after seeing Jelena practice in Linz back in October, and she’s not surprised at all to see her in the semifinals. Andrea Petkovic and I also had this typical exchange as we were counted down to go live on camera…

Petko: U look young, what did u do?

Me: Grew a beard.

Petko: Really?

Me: Yep.

Petko: I would totally do that if it made me look younger

— Andy Taylor (@StadiumAndy) February 25, 2016

Jelena Ostapenko

Look at this kid! Jelena Ostapenko has played an absolutely fearless week of tennis in Doha. Originally, she was supposed to play through qualifying, but withdrawls from Serena Williams and Maria Sharpova opened the door for a main-draw run. She took out Zarina Diyas in Round-1, the 12-seed and two-time Doha Finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova in Round-2, and two-time Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova in the Round of 16. On Thursday afternoon, she’d face her toughest opponent yet: Expectation. She wasn’t supposed to beat anyone in the previous rounds; there was ZERO expectation. But today, she was facing World #73 SaiSai Zheng and the pressure of knowing that it was a “winable match” with a precious Premier-5 Semifinal berth on the line. Jelena conquered that expectation with poise, patiently played within her game, jumped on opportunity without hesitation, and vaulted herself into the Semifinals 6-4, 6-3.
NEXT: Andrea Petkovic

Carla Suarez Navarro

No question. Elena Vesnina had an amazing run here in Doha. Her ranking will unquestionably jump from World #118 come Monday after two qualifying wins and upsets over Caroline Garcia, 2014 Doha Champion Simona Halep, and Caroline Wozniacki. Carla Suarez Navarro, however, was too big a hill to climb. In swirling afternoon desert wind, Suarez Navarro captured the first set 6-3, then toughed-out a gritty second that featured four consecutive service-breaks before the tie-break. Final: 6-3, 7-6(3). This is Carla’s second consecutive Semifinal run here in Doha. Last year she fell to the eventual champion Lucie Safarova.
NEXT: Agnieszka Radwanska

Doubles Upsets

Carla Suarez Navarro and Elena Vesnina could see each other again on center court…both then went on to win their Doubles Quarterfinal matches. Vesnina and Daria Kasatkina eliminated the top-seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis while Carla and Sara Errani knocked-off the 2-seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Yaroslava Shvedova.

RESULTS. Qatar Total Open 2016. Day Five. Quarterfinal Singles.

  • [3] A. Radwanska d [9] R. Vinci 36 62 63
  • A. Petkovic (GER) d [4] G. Muguruza 61 57 62
  • [8] C. Suárez Navarro d [Q] E. Vesnina 63 76(3)
  • J. Ostapenko d S. Zheng 64 63

RESULTS. Qatar Total Open 2016. Day Five. Quarterfinal Doubles.

  • D. Kasatkina / E. Vesnina d [1] M. Hingis / S. Mirza 26 64 10-5
  • S. Errani / C. Suárez Navarro d [2] B. Mattek-Sands / Y. Shvedova 57 64 10-5
  • [4] H. Chan / Y. Chan d [6] T. Babos / J. Goerges 61 76(6)
  • [PR] G. Dabrowski / M. Martínez Sánchez d K. Bondarenko / O. Savchuk 76(4) 75

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Qatar Total Open 2016 – Friday Order of Play
Qatar Total Open 2016 – Updated Singles Draw
Qatar Total Open 2016 – Updated Doubles Draw