TOP NAMES SET TO PLAY IN QATAR OPEN
Doha, Feb. 10: Despite the loss of world number one Naomi Osaka through injury, six of the women’s top 10 players descend on Doha this week for the Qatar Open.
Australian Open champion — and the sport’s new superstar — Osaka withdrew last week due to a back injury, leaving a big hole to fill for tournament organisers, which they have done with a strong field including three former world number ones.
Simona Halep is now the top seed and the Romanian will be joined by the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova and Germany’s Angelique Kerber as the top seeds.
All three were formerly at the top of the women’s rankings, Halep only being ousted by Osaka last month after Melbourne.
Halep, now ranked three in the world, and Kerber, sixth, are both Grand Slam winners. Pliskova, the world number five, is a former US Open finalist.
Kerber is the first of these to arrive in Doha as she seeks to erase the memory of her crushing straights sets fourth round defeat against Danielle Collins in Australia. “It’s a tough draw [in Doha,” Kerber said. “But this is a challenge, and I’m always looking forward to coming here.”