Doha | Collins upsets Kudermetova on Day 1 at Qatar Open

With the finals of the Qatar TotalEngeries Open set for next Saturday, play got underway on Sunday in the 48-woman main draw following two earlier days of intense qualifying, all hosted by the Qatar Tennis Federation on the courts of the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

I haven’t been on tour that long, compared to some of the other players. Because I did go the college route, so I didn’t really start on tour until I was 22. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday when I started playing and in other ways it seems like I’ve been out here for an eternity. Danielle Collins

30-year-old Collins, who is a former World No 7 and Australian Open runner-up, had to qualify for the first WTA 1000 of the season, and has continued her run in the Middle East with an impressive straight-sets upset-win over 13th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova from Russia.

The American announced last month that 2024 will be her final season on the tour, and she is finding a rich vein of form in celebration, taking out Kudermetova, 7-5 6-3, after an hour and 46 minutes.

Last week, in Abu Dhabi after an opening-round, straight-sets win over Naomi Osaka, she elaborated on her decision.

“Earlier this year, around the holidays, I decided this would be my last season,” she said. “I’m feeling really happy about it and looking forward to it.

“I haven’t been on tour that long, compared to some of the other players. Because I did go the college route, so I didn’t really start on tour until I was 22. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday when I started playing and in other ways it seems like I’ve been out here for an eternity.”


Sorana Cirstea got past Sloane Stephens to set up a 2nd-round encounter with top seed Iga Swiatek on Monday

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Belgian Greet Minnen, the No 84 in the world who also had to qualify, achieved an easy win over Germany’s, Tatjana Maria, ranked 50, 6-1 6-1, taking just 52 minutes to set up a 2nd-round encounter with Marketa Vondrousova, the Czech No 6 seed.

Another Czech, Katerina Siniakova, who is ranked 42, also made it into the 2nd-round by defeating Croatian Donna Vekic, ranked 27, 7-5 6-1, and she will face Coco Gauff, the 19-year old American seeded No 2 next.

The top 8 seeds, led by World No 1 Iga Swiatek, have all received byes and await the completion of the opening round.

Rain delayed the start of play, before Romanian Sorana Cirstea dispatched American Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, 6-3 6-2.

Cirstea, ranked 26, won in an hour and 26 minutes and will meet top-seeded Swiatek on Monday, with the 22-year Pole holding a 2-0 record against the Romanian.

Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk) also advanced after defeating America’s Caroline Dolehide, 6-3 7-5, while Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova, the 14th seed, beat Bulgaria’s Victoriya Tomova, a lucky loser, 7-6(2) 6-3.

Alexandrova will take on Erika Andreeva, the older sister of Mirra, who came through qualifying and extended her run with an impressive 7-6(2) 6-2 win over fellow Russian 19-year old Diana Shnaider, also a qualifier.

Another Ukrainian, Lesia Tsurenko, also advanced after a hard-fought win over Turkish wild-card Zeynep Sonmez, 7-5 6-3, while China’s Zhu Lin was a surprisingly easy winner over Varvara Gracheva, a Russian-born Frenchwoman, 6-1 6-1, in 53 minutes, and she will meet Elena Rybakina next, the 3rd seed from Kazakhstan, who won the WTA 500 Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open on Sunday.





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