Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 WTA Tour: Qatar Total Open

2020 WTA Tour: Qatar Total Open

Tennis player holds racquet

The round of 32 gets underway at the Qatar Total Open with Damien Kayat previewing the respective matchups between Ons Jabeur and Jennifer Brady as well as 
Garbine Muguruza and Ajla Tomljanovic. 

2020 WTA Tour  | WTA Premier 5 | Qatar Total Open
Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex (Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 32 Matches | 25 February 2020

Ons Jabeur (13/20)
vs Jennifer Brady (23/20)

This promises to be an exciting encounter with two of the more interesting wildcards on the WTA Tour. Ons Jabeur received a wildcard entry for this event off the back of an encouraging start to the season. Semi-finals in Tianjin and Eastbourne last season hinted at things to come. But a historic quarterfinal run at the Aussie Open put her name firmly on the map. Her intricate, unpredictable style excited crowds to no end, helping her become the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal. She overcame a horror draw, beating Konta. Garcia and Caroline Wozniacki in the opening three rounds. She then came within a whisker of defeating Simona Halep in Dubai, wasting match points in a narrow three-set defeat. Jabeur eased past Siniakova in the opening round and will likely enjoy the lion’s share of support here.

Jennifer Brady is coming of a stunning performance in a stellar Dubai field. She reached the semi-finals in unprecedented style, leaving an elephant’s graveyard of favoured players in her wake. She beat Svitolina, Vondrousova and Garbine Muguruza. It took eventual champion Simona Halep to stop the 24-year-old American. It continued a theme of giant-killing for the American: she beat World Number One Ashleigh Barty on enemy territory in Brisbane. Brady seems to be following a trend of recent American ladies to emerge from nowhere. The likes of Gauff, Kenin and Collins have replaced established players such as Sloane Stephens in the American pecking order. Brady just beat fellow American Alison Riske and could be a dangerous dark horse in this event. 

This is such a finely balanced match, with both players already accumulating tremendous victories this year. They share the head-to-head spoils at 1-1, with both matches coming last year. Jabeur won their last match at the Tianjin Open. One could expect a slightly similar pattern of play to the Halep-Jabeur match at Dubai, with Brady trying to flatten out the points while Jabeur employs her wide varieties of slice and guile. I’m backing Jabeur to pull through this one.  

Garbine Muguruza (4/10)
vs Ajla Tomljanovic (7/4)

The resurgence of former World Number One Garbine Muguruza has been great to watch. The two-time Grand Slam Champion was simply too good to be languishing outside the world’s top 30. She showed signs of this comeback last year, highlighted by a win in Monterrey. But terrible late-season form necessitated a reunion with coach Conchita Martinez. After literally climbing Mount Everest, the Spaniard has really been consistent this season. She reached the semi-finals in Shenzhen prior to a quarterfinal run in Hobart. Muguruza gave it her all and really should have won her 3rd Grand Slam in Melbourne. She imploded after leading against the unheralded Sofia Kenin. She looked solid last week in Dubai prior to a shock defeat to Jennifer Brady. Muguruza survived a scare in her first match to see off Daria Kasatkina in three sets. The 2018 Qatar finalist will be looking for a more routine victory here. 

An Aussie of Croatian descent, Ajla Tomljanovic easily moved past Hon in her opening match. The aggressive Aussie pummelled 21 winners past her fellow countrywoman. It took her 2020 hardcourt win-los record to 4-4. It has been a fairly unremarkable season thus far for the four-time WTA finalist: she reached the final of the Hua Hin Championships in Thailand last year. So she’s certainly no novice. But perhaps more interesting is her recent defeat at the hands of Muguruza in Melbourne. She proved to be one of Muguruza’s toughest opponents, pushing the Spaniard in a pulsating three-set match. Tomljanovic needs a result to fire up her season and Muguruza may represent an exciting opportunity. 

This will be their 4th career meeting, with Muguruza holding the head-to-head advantage at 2-1. Despite the tight three-set win at Melbourne, this should be a routine victory for the 2018 finalist. Her win-loss record on hardcourts is 14-3 this year. She will be slightly concerned that she gave Kasatkina so many looks on her serve. But I expect her to collect a straightforward straight-sets victory at 1/1. 
Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets

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