10th Anniversary of Qatar Total Open
02 Feb 2012
• Qatar Total Open will be held February 13 through 19, 2012
• 10th anniversary of tournament will bring top tennis players to Qatar, including Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova, Sam Stosur and defending champion, Vera Zvonareva

February 1, 2012 - DOHA, Qatar - The Qatar Total Open 2012 celebrates the 10th anniversary of women’s tennis in Doha. Last year saw the return of the event to Doha after a two-year absence, during which the WTA and Qatar Tennis Federation staged the WTA Year-Ending Championships in Doha for three years in a row (2008-2010). The event has seen internationally renowned champions lift the coveted trophy over the years at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex. This year’s event sees the tournament raised to a WTA Premier event with prize money totaling $2,168,400 and 56-direct entry players in the singles draw. With eight of the world’s top 10 players in action, this is a field of athletes of the highest caliber.

This year sees the world’s best come to Doha with players including: new world No. 1 and 2012 Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, world No. 2 and reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, world No. 3 and 2011 Doha runner-up Caroline Wozniacki, No.5 and current US Open champion Sam Stosur, world No. 8 and defending Doha champion Vera Zvonareva.
The very first event was played in 2001 with the game’s top players taking advantage of playing in Doha for the premier tournament. Martina Hingis was ranked No. 1 and she came to Doha to inaugurate the event. She faced a tough draw that included Mary Pierce and Sandrine Testud of France, Tunisia’s Selima Sfar, and Austria’s Barbara Schett. Hingis faced No. 3 seed Testud in the final and had no problem dismantling the Frenchwoman 6-3, 6-2 (and never losing a set during the entire tournament) to win the first ever Qatar Ladies Open title. Testud partnered with Italian Roberta Vinci to claim the first ladies doubles title in Doha that year.
American superstar Monica Seles was the No. 1 seed at the 2002 event. If was her first time playing in the desert and after a first round bye, she eased her way through to the semifinals where she met Australian Alicia Molik. Molik put up quite a fight and took Seles to the edge, but the American won the match 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4 in order to meet Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn in the finals. Tanasugarn was the tournament’s 4th seed and was a force to be reckoned with but Seles prevailed and won the match 7-6(6), 6-3. Her title in Doha would prove to be Seles’ last career professional title.

It was a Russian invasion in Doha for the next four years. Anastasia Myskina kicked things off by winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. She defeated fellow Russian Elena Likhovtseva in 2003 and beat another Russian in Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2004. 2004 saw Kuznetsova partner with fellow Russian Likhovtseva to lift the doubles trophy when they defeated Janette Husarova of Slovakia and Conchita Martinez of Spain.

Russian dominance continued in 2005 when glamour girl Maria Sharapova came to town. It was her first trip to Doha and she made the most of it. Having not dropped a set on her way to the final against Australian Alicia Molik, Sharapova did not have as easy a time in her last match. Molik won the first set but Sharapova found her form and quickly went on to win the next two sets and the match, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Molik did not go home empty-handed though, she partnered with Italian Francesca Schiavone to defeat the formidable team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber in order to win the doubles trophy.

Nadia Petrova continued the Russian tradition in 2006. In her first appearance in Doha, she managed to reach the final without dropping a set. Along the way she defeated Eleni Daniilidou, Li Na and Ai Sugiyama. She faced No. 1 seed and then-world No. 2 Amelia Mauresmo of France in the final. Petrova’s Doha debut culminated with a straight-set win over Mauresmo, 6-3, 7-5.

The Russian streak came to an end in 2007. Ranked No. 2 in the world and the tournament’s top seed, Justine Henin of Belgium had previously played in the desert in 2004 (where she lost to Kuznetsova in the semifinals). But 2007 would be a different result for her. She came upon Kuznetsova once again, this time in the final. Seeded No. 2, Kuznetsova hoped to continue the Russian dominance but Henin had other plans and won the title by defeating Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2. In doubles, Martina Hingis partner with Maria Kirilenko to win the trophy over Agnes Szavay and Vladimira Uhlirova.

Sharapova returned to Doha in 2008 and in her second appearance, she won her second Doha title. She faced fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva in the final. Sharapova easily won the first set but lost her form in the second set which her countrywoman took full advantage of and forced the match into a deciding third set. Sharapova regained her tactics and won the title 6-1, 2-6, 6-0.

The tournament took a two-year hiatus after 2008 in order to stage the WTA Year-Ending Championships. After three consecutive year-end finals, the WTA event returned to Doha last February and 2008 finalist Vera Zvonareva was looking to better her showing. After a bye in the first round, she easily defeated Dominika Cibulkova in the second round. Then she faced stiff competition the quarterfinals (against Daniela Hantuchova) and semifinals (against Jelena Jankovic) – both players forced Zvonareva to win the matches in three sets. She then faced world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the final. She was ready to win the title and didn’t drop a set in her 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Wozniacki. Zvonareva took home the trophy and $111,000 in prize money.

Beyond quality tennis by the games’ greatest players, the Qatar Total Open 2012 also showcases entertainment for the entire family with its Public and VIP Villages, Kids Zone, and Traditional Souq. February 14, 2012 will also see the hosting of the first ever Ladies Day at the Qatar Total Open. Players, sponsors and fans have grown accustomed to the warmth and accessibility the event offers. The past 10 years have seen Qatar evolve as a force in the region and the world, especially in sport, and the Qatar Total Open 2012 highlights this growth as it continues to bring the world’s greatest tennis players to Doha.

Tickets to the Qatar Total Open 2012 are available on the QTF website and at Lagoona, City Center, Landmark, Villaggio and the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex. For more information about the tournament and tickets, visit http://www.qatartennis.org.

About Qatar Tennis Federation
The overall mission of the Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) is to provide young Qatari tennis players with the best resources and opportunities available to reach their maximum potential and compete in renowned tennis tournaments locally, regionally and internationally. In addition the Qatar Tennis Federation is fully committed to elevate the level of tennis in the country and to turn tennis into the preferred sport among the community of Qatar.