World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty returns to action today at the Qatar Open 2020 three weeks after bowing out in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. The 23-year-old Australian has simply picked up from where she left last year, which had so far been the best season of her career.
She tasted Grand Slam glory for the first time on the claycourts of Roland Garros and added titles at Miami and Birmingham before finishing the WTA season with the prestigious WTA Finals crown. Her consistency was rewarded with a rise to the pinnacle of the world rankings.
If anyone expected Barty to be feeling the weight of expectations on her shoulders, then they were in for a surprise. Barty did stutter at the start of 2020 but quickly rebounded to take the title in Adelaide and brought that form and confidence into the year's first Major to reach the semi-finals in her best-ever performance at her home Slam.
Her patience and composure have helped her a long way and she doesn't look to be in a mood to relinquish her crown anytime soon. As the top seed at this week's Qatar Open, the Aussie should be aiming for nothing less than the title and her draw too looks suited for her to get some good wins under her belt before the rounds get tougher.
She takes on the 68th-ranked qualifier Laura Siegemund in her opening match of this WTA Premier 5 tournament in what should be their first meeting. Siegemund started her qualifying rounds with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Qatari wildcard Mubaraka Al-Naimi and followed it up with a solid 7-5, 7-5 win over Magdalena Frech.
Having gotten used to the conditions in Doha, the German would hope to make Barty work hard but the World No. 1's finesse and her exceptional anticipation skills should be enough to break down Siegemund's game.
Here's all you need to know about Qatar Open 2020 Schedule:
Tournament: Qatar Total Open 2020
Category: WTA Premier 5
City: Doha, Qatar
Venue: Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex
Prize money: $3,240,445
Tournament schedule: February 23-29, 2020
Match Schedule: (1) Ashleigh Barty (AUS) vs (Q) Laura Siegemund (GER) second-round match expected to be around 7:30 pm IST on Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Head-to-head: First meeting
Live Telecast: There will be no live telecast in India
Live Scores: Click here