The last eight is all set at the 2018 Qatar Total Open in Doha with five of the top eight seeds still alive. There is just one unseeded player left in the draw in what has been a week of few shocks. There are many familiar faces left with five of the quarter-finalists having already won a title in 2018. Read on for Thursday’s Doha highlights, polls/predictions for the quarter-finals and a few highlights off the court too…
Kvitova extends winning streak to ten
What a star. Petra Kvitova kept her stunning run going with a hard fought 6-4 7-5 victory over the number three seed, Elina Svitolina. Kvitova also extended her winning streak over Svitolina to seven with a first top five win of 2018. Stat of the day from the second set – Kvitova won 85% of second serve points and Svitolina won 100% of second serve points!
Svitolina didn’t play a bad match. I thought she was a little panicky in her hitting at the end and she struggled to make an impact on Kvitova in the rallies who was striking the ball well and all too often able to find the winner. Beating Radwanska and Svitolina back-to-back is a monster effort from Kvitova, particularly after coming from Fed Cup.
Bellis gains revenge on Pliskova
Karolina Pliskova dismantled CiCi Bellis for the loss of just two games in less than an hour in Brisbane. One month on and Bellis turned the tables for a 7-6(4) 6-3 third round victory. While Pliskova was forced to sit out Fed Cup at the weekend due to illness, this result was still a surprise to me. I was a tad disappointed by Bellis when I watched her in Melbourne but she’s having a superb week in Doha. I watched the third set of her win over Madison Keys last night where she was hitting with tremendous depth. Today’s win was the best win of Bellis’s career by ranking.
Nine out of nine for Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki maintained her 100% record over Monica Niculescu with a 7-5 6-1 third round win. The talking point from the match came at 4-4 in a wild opening set where the umpire picked Wozniacki up on impersonating Niculescu’s grunt during a point (see tweet by Ashish below). You can hear Wozniacki saying to the umpire “it’s the only way she can win… is to piss people off” 😂. Wozniacki’s petulance when things aren’t going to plan has become a thing. The Dane elaborated on Niculescu’s “tactics” in her press conference.
Kerber rallies past Konta
In the last match of the day, Angelique Kerber rallied from a very slow start to beat Johanna Konta, 1-6 6-1 6-3 in one hour and 51 minutes. It wasn’t a vintage Kerber display who looked oddly disinterested in the opener. I really liked the way she was able to battle back though and force Konta into making errors. The Brit mistimed a forehand from a winning position with Kerber serving at *4-3 *30-30 in the decider. Konta won just one more point after that miss. All in all, a positive week for Konta as Kerber moves on.
No time for the highlights? Just watch the rally linked below 👏👏👏.
Friday’s slate of QFs is awesome
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Angelique Kerber
Petra Kvitova vs. Julia Goerges
Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Caroline Garcia
CiCi Bellis vs. Simona Halep
And the semi-finals could be even better! I’m on the fence for Kvitova-Goerges and Muguruza-Garcia. I’m going for Kerber, Goerges, Garcia and Halep to reach the semi-finals.
Dubai entry list news
Dubai is up next week and has suffered a double hit with the withdrawals of Madison Keys (illness) and Maria Sharapova (forearm strain). It was also announced today that Jelena Ostapenko will be playing the tournament.
Team Bucie coming soon
Great news as Bethanie Mattek-Sands is set to the return to the tennis court in March at Indian Wells where she will once again team up with Lucie Safarova. To be honest i’m pleasantly surprised Beth is back so soon after that horrendous injury at Wimbledon last year.
Congrats to Nicole Gibbs!
This was niceeee! 😊.