Despite Doha only being a regular Premier event this year on its biannual rotation with Dubai, it still boasted a spectacular field compared to some of its equivalent events.
That is, until a few of them bowed out with illness. Notable, Karolina bowed out very late (just in time for her sister to get the lucky loser spot and the first-round bye) and Caroline Wozniacki.
In the end, two quality players emerged from the final to contest a cracking good final.
It was full of streaks and ebbs. And even though No. 1 seed Simona Halep won 18 points in a row at one stage, it still wasn’t enough as Elise Mertens took the trophy.
Halep was visibly hampered by blisters. So we’ll see if she’s in good form as she faces Canadian Genie Bouchard in her second-round match in Dubai.
ON THE UPSWING
Simona Halep (ROU): No. 3 ————–> No. 2 (Halep rolls by the idle Sloane Stephens (who isn’t scheduled to return until Indian Wells) into the second spot).
Serena Williams (USA): No. 11 ————–> No. 10 (The idle Williams squeezes back into the top 10 without doing a thing, mostly because of her friend Wozniacki’s absence this week. It’s her first time there since after Wimbledon in 2017).
Elise Mertens (BEL): No. 21 ————–> No. 16 (A big title in Doha).
Bianca Andreescu (CAN): No. 70 ————–> No. 68
Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS): No. 127 ————–> No. 98 (The 28-year-old wins the Shrewsbury ITF with the loss of only one set).
Karolina Muchova (CZE): No. 132 ————–> No. 103 (The 22-year-old with the all-court game is coming along – at a career high and on the cusp of the top 100 after going from the qualifying to the quarters in Doha).
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL): No. 126 ————–> No. 113 (The Shrewsbury final moves her up, but the 29-year-old is having trouble getting back to where she used to be.
ON THE DOWNSWING
Petra Kvitova (CZE): No. 2 ————–> No. 4
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN): No. 10 ————–> No. 14
Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP): No. 15 ————–> No. 19
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS): No. 66 ————–> No. 70 (The former top-10 player continues to slide).
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE): No. 72 ————–> No. 81
Sorana Cirstea (ROU): No. 92 ————–> No. 108 (Out of the top 100 for the first since May 2016).
Monica Niculescu (ROU): No. 106 ————–> No. 136 (The Romanian, 31, was a rock star in Fed Cup. Unfortunately, that didn’t earn her any ranking points).
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR): No. 206 ————–> No. 226 (Bondarenko hasn’t played since last year’s US Open).
Carina Witthoeft (GER): No. 185 ————–> No. 227 (Not much of a 24th birthday for the blonde German).
Yingying Duan (CHN): No. 196 ————–> No. 245