Doha PHOTOS: Sabalenka, Kvitova advance to the final


The 2020 Qatar Total Open is down to the last two players, as Aryna Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova advanced to the title match in Friday’s semifinals.

The first to make the final was ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka, as the tournament debutante got past Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time Doha finalist and player with joint-most wins in the event’s history. The unseeded Kuznetsova twice recovered from a break down in the first set, but Sabalenka sealed the set by breaking the Russian again, without losing a point. The second set started with Sabalenka’s 3-0 lead and the Belarusian held on to that advantage en route to a 6-4 6-3 victory.

In the second semifinal on Friday, eighth seed Petra Kvitova snapped her four-match losing streak against world No.1 Ashleigh Barty. Kvitova established a 3-1 lead in the beginning of the encounter and fought off a couple of break points to claim the opening set. Barty then lost just four points on her first serve and broke Kvitova twice to take the blockbuster to a decider, in which Kvitova prevailed despite conceding an early break. The 6-4 2-6 6-4 win takes the 2018 Doha champion Kvitova into her 37th WTA career final.

If Kvitova extends her 2-1 head-to-head record against Sabalenka to 3-1 and wins the Qatar Total Open title on Saturday, she will return to the Top 10 at No.10, while Naomi Osaka will drop out of Top 10 and Sabalenka will move to No.12. If Sabalenka wins her second consecutive Premier 5 title, she will rise to No.11, Kvitova will be at No.12.

The Kvitova vs. Sabalenka final starts at 6 p.m. Doha time on Saturday.


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