March 1, 2021

Kerber, Ostapenko, Muguruza start with wins at Qatar Total Open

Former world number one Angelique Kerber of Germany and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on Monday advanced to the second round on the opening day of the Qatar Total Open.

Kerber, winner of three Grand Slam titles, on Monday beat Turkish wildcard entry Cagla Buyukakcay in straight sets. The 33-year-old, who lost the 2014 Qatar Total Open final, on Monday won 6-4, 6-2 on Court A.

Also on Monday, Ostapenko upset fifth seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, winning their battle 6-0, 6-2 in 55 minutes on the Centre Court. It was Ostapenko’s second win over Bertens in four meetings. Ostapenko played the final of the 2016 Qatar Total Open.

In another upset in Monday’s action, Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit beat seventh seed Jennifer Brady of the United States. Kontaveit won 6-1, 6-2 in 56 minutes for her first win over the American who played the Australian Open final last month.

“I’m definitely very happy with my performance today. It was maybe a little unexpected, yeah,” Kontaveit said after her win. “I give a very good rating for myself today (smiling). I thought I did a very good job. I didn’t miss a lot of easy balls. I felt like I was playing a really solid match and managed to be really aggressive at the same time,” she added.

Garbine Muguruza, winner of two Grand Slams, on Monday beat Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-2, 7-6 in 1 hour and 46 minutes. Muguruza said on Monday: “I feel like everybody’s tough. Veronika was a very tough opponent and she’s not seeded either. I am just happy with this win. We played a year ago, and I remember it was a tough match. I am happy to have closed it in two sets.”

In the final match on Centre Court, two-time Grand Slam star Victoria Azarenka of Belarus beat Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova. Eighth seed Azarenka, winner of two Australian Open titles, on Monday won 6-2, 6-3 to reach the Round of 16 in the 32-player tournament.

“I missed playing here so much. I always wanted to come here. I have so many friends here. I have great memories. I know there are few fans in the stadium now but I am used to playing in front of many fans in Qatar. I always wanted to come here in the last six years and I could not but I am glad that I am here now,” Azarenka, 31, said.