Defending champion Elise Mertens headlines the bottom half of the draw at the 2020 Qatar Ladies Open. The last-minute withdrawal of second seed Simona Halep has really opened up the field. Other big names featuring in the section include Elina Svitolina, Belinda Bencic, Aryna Sabalenka, and Kiki Bertens. Throw in a few rising stars looking to make it big and you have yourself an exciting week of tennis action.
As the top stars look to get their campaigns underway on Monday, here is a look at their prospects in Doha.
Expected quarterfinal: Elina Svitolina vs Belinda Bencic
Analysis: A tough road awaits the seeds in the third quarter. Fifth seed Elina Svitolina, who has struggled to get herself underway in 2020, might as well be the first big name to get out of Doha. The likes of Amanda Anisimova and Svetlana Kuznetsova will make life a nightmare for the Ukrainian.
Belinda Bencic, on the other hand, will be in a direct contest with Dubai nemesis Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. However, both women will have to be wary of their early opponents including Ekaterina Alexandrova and Elise Mertens respectively.
Prediction: Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Elise Mertens
Also check out: the full Qatar Open 2020 Schedule
Expected quarterfinal: Kiki Bertens vs Aryna Sabalenka
Analysis: A rather open section of the draw will see Kiki Bertens lock horns with a slew of talented players including Karolina Muchova and Hsieh Su-Wei. The two women, despite their breakthrough seasons, have failed to translate much of their success into 2020. They will be keen to change that and Bertens is definitely a fallible seed.
With Simona Halep's withdrawal, the last section of the draw has also opened up significantly. Maria Sakkari, Julia Goerges, Anett Kontaveit and Aryna Sabalenka will all be vying for that all-important last-four spot.
Prediction: Karolina Muchova vs Julia Goerges
Published 24 Feb 2020, 11:16 IST