Wildcard Alisa Kleybanova is still working her way back to the tennis top after overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and following two losses in the qualifying rounds in 2014, at the Australian Open and Pattaya, the world No.180 Russian was given an easy way to the second round of the $2,440,070 Qatar Total Open when the recent Australian Open finalist and tenth seed Dominika Cibulkova retired due to illness at 5-5 in the first set.
Kleybanova is also playing doubles at the tournament. The former world No.10 in doubles is partnered with Jelena Jankovic for the first time and they advanced to the second round on Monday.
After helping get their team to the semifinals of the Fed Cup, Czech Lucie Safarova and Klara Zakopalova arrived from Spain to Doha just before their matches and had enough time for barely an hour of sleep. Still, they managed to advance, beating No.16 seed Kirsten Flipkens 5-7 6-4 6-4 and Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-4 respectively.
Probably the most intriguing first-rounder was the one between seed No.15 Eugenie Bouchard and Bethanie Mattek Sands, because at the only tournament preceding Bouchard’s stunning semifinal run at the Australian Open, the Sydney International, the Canadian lost in the first round to Mattek Sands. History repeated itself today, as the popular youngster lost 10 of the last 11 games of the match and again fell to the American, 7-5 6-1.
Seed No.9 Ana Ivanovic advanced to the second round when Daniela Hantuchova, wearing the same blue Adidas dress as her, retired with a right knee injury in the second set, while seed No.12 Samantha Stosur beat Marina Erakovic 6-4 6-2. (photo: Johan Rivera)