Qualifying action kicked off at the Qatar Total Open on Saturday, while those that don’t have to go through qualifying practiced for the WTA 500 tournament in Doha.
New tennis mom Marion Bartoli is back in her coaching role. Just two and a half months after giving birth to daughter Kamilya, the 2013 Wimbledon champion is accompanying Jelena Ostapenko in Doha. It always fascinates me how WTA players are ready to return to work so quickly after giving birth. When my baby was a newborn, I could barely get organized to leave my apartment for more than an hour.
Ostapenko’s practice partner on this Saturday evening in Doha was Aryna Sabalenka, the 2020 Qatar Total Open champion.
The 2012 and 2013 Doha winner Victoria Azarenka rocked a black crop top during her practice session on center court.
Amanda Anisimova, who skipped the Abu Dhabi tournament and the Australian swing because of a positive COVID-19 test, is now ready to join the WTA Tour.
Corona messed up Madison Keys‘ early season as well, but the American is all smiles ahead of her first tournament in 2021. Her first-round opponent will be Belinda Bencic, runner-up at the just-finished Adelaide International.
Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Rybakina, Anett Kontaveit and 2017 Doha champion Karolina Pliskova were all spotted practicing on Saturday.
As you can see, a lot of former world No.1s and Grand Slam champions are in the draw. Several have withdrawn, though — Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu and, most recently, Iga Swiatek, as she needs some time to rest following her triumph at the Adelaide International.
Fresh off her Australian Open quarterfinal run, Jessica Pegula lost just one game against Gabriela Dabrowski in the first round of qualifying.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands also moves on, with a straight-set win over Patricia Maria Tig.
Anastasia Potapova advanced, presenting all the beauty of Nike’s latest collection (the Spring Slam Melbourne Tank and Spring Melbourne Skirt).
Laura Siegemund rocked the Fila Court Halter Tank during her victory in the first round of qualifying.
Formerly sponsored by Lotto, Kristyna Pliskova entered 2021 in Mizuno tennis clothes. The Czech successfully started her appearance in Doha with a win over Darija Jurak.
Qualifying schedule continues on Sunday. Our Jimmie48 will be there to provide us with the best WTA photography.