- WTA Doha Qatar Open is down to the Round of 16.
- World No. 3 Simona Halep won this tournament in 2014.
- Karolina Pliskova was the 2017 Qatar Open champion.
The WTA Doha Qatar Open was where big things first started happening for two-time world No. 1 Simona Halep.
She won her first premier tournament title there at the Khalifa International Complex in 2014.
— Tennis Talk (@Tennis_TT1) February 13, 2019
Halep, Karolina Pliskova (2017) and Carla Suarez-Navarro (2016) are former Doha Qatar Open champions still in the hunt in this year’s event.
Odds to Win WTA Doha Qatar Open
|Team||Odds to Win WTA Doha Qatar Open at Bovada|
Odds taken 2/12
Halep defeated Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-3 to win the 2014 title.
Halep The One To Beat In Doha
Not only is Halep the No. 1 seed and Bovada’s +300 favorite to win in Doha, she arrived at the Qatar Open off a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 triumph over Pliskova in a battle of former top-ranked players in the world to help Romania edge the Czech Republic 3-2 and advance to the Federation Cup semifinals.
We expected a blockbuster and we got one between Simona and Karolina. What a match! Both players played with all their heart and came down to the 3rd set. But in the end Simona wins it! Simona Halep defeated Karolina pliskova 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to put Rou up 2-1.#FedCup #HaiRomania pic.twitter.com/3NvRjcIBbi
— 🇷🇴WTA Romania🇷🇴 (@WTARomania) February 10, 2019
It’s been an up and down battle of late for Halep. The reigning French Open champion fell in the opening round of last year’s US Open as a No. 1 seed, and a back injury forced her to withdraw from the WTA Finals.
She was eliminated in the round of 16 last month at the Australian Open.
Halep is also breaking in a new coach, having recently hired Thierry Van Cleemput.
It’s A Deep Field
Five of the world’s top eight players and nine of the top 22 in the WTA rankings are in the field of 16 left playing in Doha.
Halep is one of three former champions still in the hint. Pliskova was the Qatar Open winner two years ago. She’s the No. 2 seed and faces world No. 21 Elise Martens in the round of 16. Pliskova has beaten Martens in 12 of 16 matches.
World’s #5 player Karolina Pliskova arrived this morning to Doha. Just in time for the kick-off of the main draw matches! Good luck, @karolinapliskova! #wta #qatartennis #qto2019 #qatartotalopen2019 pic.twitter.com/sD3qwH9vV1
— Qatar Tennis Fed. (@QatarTennis) February 11, 2019
Spain’s Carla Suarez-Navarro was the 2016 winner in Doha and at +5000, offers a hefty price. She faces No. 5 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, but Bertens could be ripe for an upset after battling to beat Italy’s Camila Giorgi 0-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 in the first round.
Suarez-Navarro holds a 30-18 edge in matches against Bertens, who is just coming off a bout with the flu.
— Qatar Tennis Fed. (@QatarTennis) February 12, 2019
Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, who lost 1–6, 6–4, 6–4 to Suarez-Navarro in the 2016 final, is another intriguing look at +2200. Ostapenko faces No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the round of 16, but she’s 2-0 in head-to-head clashes with Svitolina.
On the other hand, Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, also recently returned from a wrist injury and may not be at 100%.
— Way2Win & Co (@way2winin) February 13, 2019
One play to definitely avoid is Kerber, and not because she lost to Halep in the 2014 Qatar Open final.
Kerber is 0-2 against her round of 16 opponent Anett Kontaveit in two previous meetings, failing to take a single set off of Kontaveit. In their most recent clash in Stuttgart, Germany, Kerber was down 0-6, 0-2 when she withrew from the match.
Who Should You Play?
If either Pliskova or Halep win the tournament, they would ascend to the No. 2 slot in the WTA world rankings, right behind Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
A back injury kept Osaka out of this event and three other among the world’s top 20 players also withdrew – No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki (illness), No. 14 Ashleigh Barty (hip) and No. 19 Caroline Garcia (undisclosed ailment), thinning out the field.
— Fed Cup (@FedCup) February 10, 2019
While it’s always easy to put your money on the favorite, in this instance, that looks to be the wisest play. Halep arrived in Doha off a sensational performance and it came against Pliskova, the player who figures to be her toughest opponent in this this tournament.
Halep looks to be rounding into form and she has a history of success at this facility.
— Way2Win & Co (@way2winin) February 13, 2019
On the other hand, if you’re someone who just doesn’t like to play the chalk and prefer to seek out a price, we recommend giving Ostapenko a look.
She’s a Grand Slam champion and has played in the final in Qatar. If her left wrist has healed, she could be a real sleeper pick here.