Aussie Open Champion Plays Qatar Total Open 2012
07 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 5, 2012 - DOHA, Qatar – New world No. 1 and recent Australian Open champion, Victoria Ararenka of Belarus, returns to Doha for the 10th anniversary of the Qatar Total Open. The 22-year old return to Doha for the second straight year. She lost in the round of 32 to Daniela Hantuchova last year but went on to win titles in Miami, Marbella and Luxembourg – all the while steadily increasing her ranking. She began 2012 by winning the title in Sydney, before her incredible run to the Australian Open title. She got through her first four rounds in Melbourne without dropping a set.

Though she lost the first set in the quarterfinals to Agnieszka Radwanska, she picked up her form and went on to win that match 6-7(0), 6-0, 6-2. She then met former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters in the semifinals and had another tricky match that she eventually won 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. She faced Russian Maria Sharapova in the final and her focus was clearly visible as she dismantled Sharapova with a 6-3, 6-0 victory that saw Azarenka win her first Grand Slam title.

Azarenka relocated from Minsk, Belarus to Scottsdale, Arizona to train – a move she made with the help of National Hockey League goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and his wife – when she was 16 years old.

Tournament director, Karim Alami, said of Azarenka’s presence in the field:

“Victoria has shown continued growth as a player and her hard work paid off with her title win at the Australian Open. She is now world No. 1 and having her here in Doha as the top seed is excellent. The field is very strong and Victoria plays an incredible game than fans are sure to enjoy.”

As a WTA Premier event, the Qatar Total Open 2012 will showcase top players competing for the trophy and a share of the multi-million dollar prize money. The 56-player draw also includes: defending champion Vera Zvonareva, 2011 runner-up Caroline Wozniacki, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, and reigning US Open champion, Sam Stosur. The tournament will also host the Public Village, VIP Village, player autograph sessions, a traditional Souq and Kid’s Zone and various sponsor and merchandising booths.

The Qatar Total Open has had a rich history in Doha, having had some of the game’s top players come to the desert. Past winners have included: Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Anastasia Myskina, Maria Sharapova, Nadia Petrova and Justine Henin.

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.

Quick Facts: Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) – No. 1 WTA Ranking
• Age: 22 (31.7.1989)
• Birthplace: Minsk, Belarus
• Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco
• Height: 6’ (1.83m)
• Turned Pro: 2003
• Career-high: No. 1
• Career Prize Money: $11,470,307 (singles & doubles combined)
• 10 career singles titles
• 2012 – Winner (Sydney, Australian Open)
2011 – Winner (Miami, Marbella, Luxembourg); Finalist (Madrid, WTA Championships)

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.