Caroline Wozniacki Tops First Day Winners at Qatar Total Open
By Martin Baccardax | February 12, 2013 8:59 AM EST
Caroline Wozniacki was barely troubled in her opening round victory at the Qatar Total Open Monday as the first major event on the WTA tour outside of the Grand Slams quartet kicked off this week in Doha.
The former world number one - and tenth seed in the $2.39 million tournament - needed just a few seconds over an hour to wrap up a 6-1, 6-2 win over Mervana Jugic-Salkic of Bosnia and set up a second round clash with either Sorana Cristea of Romania or Wild Card Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.
Thirteenth seed Ana Ivanovic was also an easy first round winner, taking just 66 minutes to despatch 22-year of Tamira Paszek of Austria 6-1, 6-2.
Former world number one Ivanovic will take on the potentially dangerous Simona Halep in the next round after the young Romania demolished Bulgaria's Olga Govortsova 6-1, 6-0 in an efficient 51 minutes.
Mona Barthel of Germany continued on from her recent success in the GDF Suez Open in Paris which took her to a career high 28 on the WTA rankings, with a straight sets victory over one of the youngest - and smallest - women on the professional tour: 97th ranked Yulia Putinsova of Kazakhstan.
The 6 foot 3 Barthel bested the 5 foot 1, but powerfully built, Putinsova 6-4, 6-2 to set up an intriguing second-round match against fellow country woman and world number six Angelique Kerber.
Other first day winners included Anastasia Rodionova of Austria, 6-2, 6-3 over China's Jie Zheng and France's Caroline Garcia bested Fatma Al Nabhani of Oman 6-2, 6-3.
Former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova took out American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-6(1), 6-4 while Daria Gavrilova came from a set down to beat Spain's Anabel Mdeina Garrigues 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Gavrilova's win sets up the 18-year old with a second round match against none other than Serena Williams, a fellow training partner at the Paris-based Mouratoglou Academy who will no doubt be motivated by her first chance to regain the top spot in the WTA rankings since October of 2010.
The 31-year old American, and number two seed, will need to make it to at least the semi-finals of this week's tournament to reclaim the top spot and become the oldest player in WTA history to hold that distinction.
Top seed Victoria Azarenka will need to defend her 2012 title if she hopes to hold onto her World Number 1 ranking - and she may have to do it with a win over Williams, who's beaten her in 11 of their 12 WTA match-ups. Even that rare win, however, will likely hand the top spot to the 15-time Grand Slam champion.
The prime-time match is one of several intriguing clashes on the second day of a tournament that features nine of the top ten women in the world - and nearly as many story lines.
France's Marion Bartoli will face perhaps one of the canniest opponents in the WTA in the form of Italy's Francesca Schiavone and she'll do it without the help of her long-time coach, travelling companion and father, Dr. Walter Bartoli.
Bartoli spilt with her father as coach only hours before boarding a plane to Doha, telling L'Equipe magazine that it was time for both of them to move on from a relationship that has worked incredibly well for the 28-year old French woman but has been the source of much consternation inside the French Tennis Federation.
Bartoli claims the split is amicable and that she'll still speak with him daily but her famously tense temperament will be severely tested by the wily former French Open champion.
Also in action Tuesday will be number three seed and world number three Maria Sharapova, who takes on Garcia of France. A win for Sharapova and an early exit for Williams could put the 25-year old Russian back at the top of the WTA rankings.
Elsewhere Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer faces the top-ranked womens' doubles player in the world, Roberta Vinci of Italy and the rising American star, 19-year old Sloane Stephens, who takes on Georgia's Anna Tatishvili in the first match since her surprising semi-final appearance at the Australian Open.
Britain's Laura Robson, fresh off an undefeated week of Fed Cup competition in Israel, will also take the court Tuesday with a first round match-up against tour veteran Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia.
Play starts Tuesday at 2:30pm local time with Nadia Petrova of Russia taking on Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic.
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