Seventh seed, Kiki Bertens starts her Doha campaign on Monday when she squares off against Czech, Karolina Muchova in the second round.
Bertens vs Muchova is live from Doha on Monday, 24 February from 5:00pm local time/ 2:00pm GMT
Bertens brings a four-match winning streak into Doha, having won her most recent event in St. Petersburg for her first title of the season. The Dutchwoman has made a solid start to 2020, building up a 9-2 record.
She made the quarter finals in her season-opener in Brisbane (lost to Naomi Osaka), reached the fourth round at the Australian Open (lost to Garbine Muguruza), before producing that title run in St. Petersburg, where she defeated Veronika Kudermetova, Anastasia Potapova, Ekaterina Alexandrova and the surging Elena Rybakina to successfully defend her title, and move up to 10 career titles.
She opted out of last week’s tournament in Dubai, but she returns to action in Doha, where she’s competing for the second straight season. The 28-year-old will have her sights set on going further that last year’s quarter final run.
Bertens has now maintained a top-ten ranking since October 2018, climbing as high as No. 4 last May following her superb triumph at the Madrid Open. That was one of two tournaments she won last season, the other being St. Petersburg. A very consistent campaign also featured finals in s-Hertogenbosch, Palermo and Zhuhai, while she made semi-finals in Sydney, Stuttgart, Rome, Eastbourne and Beijing.
The early evidence suggests that 2020 will be another solid campaign for Bertens, and she will look to continue her fine start to the year in Doha, where she faces Karolina Muchova in her opening match.
Muchova has already had one match in Doha, taking down Hua Hin champion, Magda Linette on Sunday.
Winning 79% of points on her first serve and saving two of the three break points she faced, Muchova stormed to a 6-3 6-1 victory in just 72 minutes to set up Monday’s meeting with Bertens.
After a fantastic 2019, during which she rose from 144th at the start of the year to a year-end mark of 21st, Muchova hasn’t really got going this season. That victory over Linette was only her second win of the season, the other being against Kirsten Flipkens in the first round of the Australian Open. She crashed to Catherine Bellis in the second round in Melbourne, and suffered opening round defeats in her other two tournaments in Brisbane and Dubai.
The 23-year-old is definitely very capable of producing a lot better, like she showed in 2019. Muchova claimed her maiden career title in Seoul last year, while she made a final in Prague, semi-finals in Moscow and Zhuhai, and a fantastic quarter final at Wimbledon, which featured an epic fourth round win over more illustrious compatriot, Karolina Pliskova.
Muchova also reached the quarter finals in Doha last year, beating Sam Stosur and Su-Wei Hsieh before falling to Elina Svitolina- can the world No. 27 string together another run this week? She crossed the first round without much difficulty, but she faces a much sterner test in the second round on Monday, as she runs into world No. 8, Bertens for the first time.
Muchova is a very exciting talent- she mixes things up nicely and loves to come forward, but can she withstand the power and consistency of the in-form Bertens?