The top-four seeded players at the Qatar Total Open 2019 would not be in action on the courts of the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex until the second round as they all got byes at the end of the draw ceremony held at the Four-Seasons Hotel on Saturday.
World No. 3 and 2014 champion Simona Halep is the number one seed while 2017 champion and world No. 5 Karolína Plíšková is seeded second with Angelique Kerber; a three-time Grand Slam champion and 2014 finalist completing the top three seeds.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, currently ranked seventh, is fourth in the seeding for the tournament which will be held from February 11 to 16.
The ceremony, conducted by Tournament Supervisor Tony Cho, was attended by Qatar Tennis, Squash and Badminton Federation (QTSBF) Secretary General & General Co-ordinator of Qatar Total Open Tariq Darwish Zainal, Tournament Director Saad Saleh Al Mohannadi, QTSBF Board Member Mohammed Al Subaie and top officials from Total Qatar led by Laurent Wolffsheim, Managing Director of Total E&P Golfe and Group Representative.
Players in attendance include Julia Görges of Germany, Barbora Strýcová of Czech Republic and Oman’s Fatma Al Nabhani.
Interestingly, Nabhani, a wildcard entrant, will be squaring up against Strýcová in the first round on Monday while Görges will have to overcome Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, the seventh seed, for any hope of a second round appearance.
Meanwhile, 2016 French Open semi-finalist Kiki Bertens of Netherland, the fifth-seed, was drawn against Italy’s Camila Giorgi while Caroline Wozniacki, a two-time finalist (2011 & 2017) will equally have to wait until the second round before engaging an opponent as she also got a bye.
“The draw is quite interesting and I’m prepared to give it my best shot. Strýcová is a very good player and I’m sure the match won’t be easy but I think anything can happen on the court. I’ve always loved to play in this tournament and I’ve enjoyed every of my participation here. I hope to go as far as possible in the tournament,” Al Nabhani said.
Tournament Director Saad Saleh Al Mohannadi said, “We are happy to host the top players once again in Doha. The field is quite strong and I believe the players are ready to give the fans something to remember for a long time. Qatar Total Open 2019 promises to be the best ever. We are ready to continue to organise the best tournament in this category and we plan to keep raising the bar each year.”
Held since 2001, the Qatar Total Open has grown to become one of the biggest WTA Tour events in the region and it has consistently featured the world’s top ten players on a regular basis.
The last edition was won by Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova who recorded her 13th consecutive victory by beating Spaniard Garbine Muguruza 3–6, 6–3, 6–4 in a highly entertaining encounter.