The 2012 Qatar Open women’s qualifying singles event began on Saturday 11 February at 3:30pm local time in Doha. The 8 players who qualify to enter the main singles draw need to win two matches in a row in the knockout qualifying singles event. The official tournament name is the Qatar TOTAL Open due to title sponsorship naming rights. To watch the tennis in Singapore you need to add 5 hours to the local time in Doha to work out the equivalent Singapore time.
There are 16 seeds in the 32-player qualifying draw, which means that the highest 16 ranked players at the cut-off date are seeded to meet each other in “The Qualifying Round”. The Qualifying Round is the final round that decides which 8 players qualify for the main draw. The qualifying draws are different to main draws because these events do not play off until there is one undefeated player. Therefore, the No.1 seed and the No.2 seed are not separated at the opposite ends of the draw.
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The cut-off date for entry into the 2012 Qatar Open qualifying singles draw was 2 January 2012. Players were accepted into the qualifying draw according to their ranking on January 2nd. To determine whom the 16 seeds are in the qualifying event, the rankings released on Monday 6 February 2012 were used to identify the seeds (and not the rankings at the time of qualifying on January 2nd).
The qualifying matches are best-of-3 sets. The first two sets are tiebreak sets and the final set is an advantage set. In an advantage set, if the set score is tied at six games all the players continue to play until one player gains a two game advantage. The 16 seeds were chosen according to the WTA rankings as at Monday 6 February. The last direct acceptance to make the cut-off into the qualifying draw was Natalie GRANDIN from South Africa who was ranked at No.788 at the entry deadline date.
The Top 8 seeds are ranked between No.59 and No.110 in the world. The two qualifying wild cards were awarded to 33-year-old Vladimira UHLIROVA from the Czech Republic who is currently ranked No.1,172 and 27-year-old Klaudia JANS-IGNACIK from Poland who currently does not have a WTA ranking. Grandin and Uhlirova are the No.6 seeds in the Qatar Open women’s doubles event.
Pictured above is Caroline GARCIA at the 2011 US Open with her head fixed nicely over the incoming ball as she is firing her racquet towards the contact point for this open-stance forehand ground stroke. The talented 18-year-old from France is playing the Qatar Open for the first time this year in her first year out of juniors. The 1.77m Garcia achieved her career-high WTA women’s ranking of No.134 on 9 January 2012 and is currently ranked at No.149. If Garcia qualifies and wins her first round match in Qatar she will set a new career-high ranking.
Garcia has already played six women’s Grand Slam single events so far in her young career and at all four Grand Slams at least once each. Garcia achieved her best Grand Slam singles result to date by making the 2nd round at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2011. Garcia peaked at World No.5 in singles on the ITF Junior Tour. In 2011 Garcia was a semi finalist at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon junior singles events and was the runner-up at the 2011 Junior US Open.
The 2012 Qatar Open women’s qualifying singles draw is:
- Vania KING (1) v Misaki DOI
- Vladimira UHLIROVA (WC) v (10) Virginie RAZZANO
- Eleni DANIILIDOU (2) v Varvara LEPCHENKO
- Olga SAVCHUK v (16) CHANG Kai-Chen
- Aleksandra WOZNIAK (3) v Kurumi NARA
- Raquel KOPS-JONES v (14) Bojana JOVANOVSKI
- Urszula RADWANSKA (4) v Lesia TSURENKO
- Andreja KLEPAC v (11) Alla KUDRYAVTSEVA
The bottom half of the draw is:
- Anne KEOTHAVONG (5) v Laura ROBSON
- Klaudia JANS-IGNACIK (WC) v (15) Heather WATSON
- Katernya BONDARENKO (6) v Alize LIM
- Veronika KAPSHAY v (13) Casey DELLACQUA
- Vera DUSHEVINA (7) v Abigail SPEARS
- Kristina MLADENOVIC v (12) Kristina BARROIS
- Aranxta RUS (8) v Caroline GARCIA
- Natalie GRANDIN v (9) Anastasia RODIONOVA
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photo credit: Robbie Mendelson