Lucie Safarova entered the final of the Qatar Total Open with a discouraging 0-6 head-to-head record against Victoria Azarenka, who also boasted a 14-match winning streak at the tournament, having won the title in 2012 and 2013, while skipping the 2014 edition. However, the world No.15 Czech absolutely ignored the stats and erased the two-time Doha champion from the final in straight sets. Note, in all of their previous meetings she had managed to win just one set!
In both sets of the Saturday’s final Safarova was the first one to score a break and the 28-year-old had no trouble consolidating them with successful service games. In the first set Azarenka did manage to get things back on serve, breaking back for 3-3 and even going 4-3 up, but Safarova didn’t let the set slip through her fingers and recorded one more break to strengthen her position, while in the second set she saved all the four break points she faced and never allowed the Belarusian to take charge. Final result: 6-4 6-3.
En route to her sixth and biggest career title, Lucie first took out Samantha Stosur, then fifth seed Ekaterina Makarova in the second round, sixth seed Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals, ninth seed Carla Suarez Navarro in the semis, and finally Vika, who had an overall fantastic tournament and great launch of cooperation with coach Wim Fissette. The champion has won $124,000 in prize money and will now climb to a career-high ranking of No.11.
Safarova’s pink winning outfit: the Nike Spring Advantage Printed SS Top and the Spring Victory Printed Skirt. In charge of Safarova’s comfortable movement were the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour shoes.
Good job for Lucie. All her hardwork pays off. Still a good week for Vika though. Reaching the final in Doha will definitely give her a big confidence boost in the next few events.
Good tournament for Safarova but more interesting is Azarenka who is coming back to her best game. Curious about next results of VIka
Safarova has always been a dangerous opponent, but she lacked consistency and crumbled often. Hopefully this is just the first step of her steady rise to the very top. Her coach Rob Steckley believes she is a Top 5 material, and she is, but let’s see if the Czech can execute that.
I agree Marija. She is a very tricky opponent. I hope she use this win as her spring board for the rest of the season. Czech Republic is rocking this season so far! Pliskova and Safarova are both stepping up in the ranks.
Emman Damian, and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Now we have 4 Czechs in the Top 20!
Hurray for Lucie. Yes she has crumbled before when she was about to win a match. Had she not hit her shot down the line 5 cm out on match point in the 3rd round of the’14 AO, Li Na would not have been the champion. (WHEWWWW!) Also at the Rogers Cup a few years back, she blew a 5-0 lead in the deciding set to Li. Maybe this will change her fortunes..give her confidence. She seems to be a late bloomer.
Jim, thanks for contributing with these examples. Lucie has always been lethal but also often blew up big time. Let’s see if now she’ll have more consistency.
Well done Lucie ! You deserve this final win ! Congratulation to you !