Doha, Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, the No.9 seed, comfortably dispatched Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 in one hour 17 minutes to set up a first-time clash against 2018 champion Petra Kvitova in today’s final.
Kvitova defeated tournament’s top seed Ashleigh Barty 6 4, 2 6, 6 4 in the other semi-final encounter.
With the golden falcon trophy and the $605,000 winner’s prize money at stake, a stage is set for a thrilling encounter between two players who have been in fine form throughout this tournament.
With her victory over the Russian, Sabalenka, who will be making her 10th WTA final appearance and her first in Doha, now holds a head-to-head advantage over the 32-year-old Kuznetsova as the duo came into the match with the record tied at 2-2.
A crazy start to the match saw both Sabalenka and Kuznetsova exchange four breaks of serve as neither was able to gain any kind of momentum.
But they began to settle down as the set neared its conclusion before the Belarusian stunned the crowd by breaking to love to draw first blood.
Sabalenka continued to pile on the pressure at the start of the second set and raced into a 3-0 lead.
And she never looked in any danger of relinquishing that advantage as she served out the match.
For Kvitova, a chance of joining the elite class of two-time winners of the tournament beckons today as she faces the in-form Sabalenka.
Since the tournament began in 2001, only three players – Anastasia Myskina (2003, 2004), Maria Sharapova (2005, 2008) and Victoria Azarenka (2012, 2013) have had the privilege of lifting the trophy on more than one occasion.
With the victory, which came after overcoming a second-set blip, Kvitova has now ended a run of four straight defeats to Barty, including in the Australian Open quarter-finals earlier this year, and she will also be featuring in the 37th WTA final of her career as she faces Sabalenka today.
On the other hand, The pair of tournament’s top seeds Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic and Chinese Taipei’s Su-Wei Hseih combined effectively to emerge champions at the end of the final of the doubles event yesterday.
The duo defeated the 2018 champions Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko and Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski 6-2, 5-7, 10-2 in 1 hour 30minutes to claim their third title of the season and the $172,000 winners’ prize money as well as the trophy
The trophies and prizes were presented by QTF Secretary-General Tariq Zainal Tournament Director Saad Al Mohannadi, Total Qatar Vice President – HR, Communications and CSR Abdullah Mohsen and Managing Director Refining and Chemical Total Qatar Philippe Legrand.
It was Hsieh’s second victory in three finals in Doha as she won the 2014 title together with China’s Peng Shuai. Her attempt at repeating the feat the following year, this time with India’s Sania Mirza, ended in a straight-sets defeat to the USA pair of Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.
With the victory, the 34-year-old Hsieh is set to upstage Kristina Mladenovic at the top of the doubles rankings when the new release is out on Monday.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee