What the whuh? The early season head-scratchers continue on the WTA Tour. This week’s beneficiary: Carla Suarez Navarro…in both singles AND doubles. Carla bounced Agnieszka Radwanska with a second-set bagel, despite taking a nasty wrist-wrenching tumble next to the chair in set-2’s opener. She then teamed with Sara Errani to reach her 9th career WTA Doubles Final.
Carla Suarez Navarro
Look…Carla’s 6-2, 6-0 win is a confounding result, considering how deftly Radwanska handled the challenges of Monica Niculescu’s artistry and Roberta Vinci’s variety in the previous two rounds…not to mention Radwanska’s thumping of Suarez Navarro last month in the Australian Open quarterfinals. But hey, this is tennis in February. In football, the phrase is: “Any given Sunday.” This year on the WTA Tour, it’s “Any given match…anytime…anywhere.”
In our post-match interview, Carla acknowledged Agnieszka’s epic highlight-fest with Vinci the day prior: “Today, I feel really, really good…I think also she was a little tired from yesterday.” While there’s still a final to play, Monday means a career-high ranking for Suarez Navarro, who will climb to #6 in the world. “You work for a long time for this. And to be in the top 10 is obviously good. I feel happy.” She said last month, her goal this year was to reach the top-5 and play well at the Slams. She’s wasting no time getting after it.
Last September, she reached her first WTA Tour level final in Quebec City. Tomorrow, she’ll play in her first Premier final here in Doha. It’s as if the stars have aligned for the 18-year-old Latvian. When she boarded the plane for Qatar, she was in the qualifying draw. Thanks to a few pre-tournament withdrawls, when she got off the plane at Hammad International, she learned that she was now in the main event. After wins over Zarina Diyas and Svetlana Kuznetsova, she scored her second career top-10 win over Petra Kvitova. Her quarterfinal opponent, SaiSai Zheng, had ousted both the top-seed Angelique Kerber and Genie Bouchard. Then tonight, she faced a hobbled Andrea Petkovic who retired early in the second set. To spice up the storyline…Jelena’s previous top-10 win was a thrashing of – drumroll please – Carla Suarez Navarro (6-2, 6-0) last June in Round-1 of the Wimbledon Championships. Can she do it again on Saturday?
RESULTS. Qatar Total Open 2016. Day Six. Semifinal Singles.
-  C. Suárez Navarro d  A. Radwanska 62 60
- J. Ostapenko (LAT) d A. Petkovic (GER) 75 10 Retired
RESULTS. Qatar Total Open 2016. Day Six. Quarterfinal Doubles.
-  H. Chan / Y. Chan d D. Kasatkina / E. Vesnina 36 76(5) 10-8
- S. Errani / C. Suárez Navarro d G. Dabrowski / M. Martínez Sánchez 61 64