Doha Thursday: JJ, Aga & Petra On Court
Published February 12, 2014 12:12
DOHA, Qatar - Alisa Kleybanova and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni look to upset a couple of contenders at the Qatar Total Open, while Petra Kvitova aims to build on the momentum she got from her dramatic second round victory over Venus Williams.
Thursday, Third Round
 Jelena Jankovic (SRB #8) vs. [WC] Alisa Kleybanova (RUS #180)
Head-to-head: Tied 3-3
No one was more dominant in Tuesday's second round play than Jelena Jankovic, who surrendered just two games in her rout of Karin Knapp. And though she has fallen to third round foe Alisa Kleybanova three times, in their only meeting in the last three and a half years at last year's US Open, Jankovic recorded the most lopsided win of their series.
However, Kleybanova has shown signs of the former Top 20 player that she is this week. Though her first round defeat of Dominika Cibulkova came by virtue of retirement, she cruised past Stefanie Voegele in the second round. If she can make it three WTA main draw match wins in a row, it would be the first time she has accomplished that feat since being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in July 2011. And though it wouldn't be her greatest win, as a triumph over then-No.2 Jankovic at Moscow in 2009 qualifies as that, a fourth victory over the Serb would be her 10th Top 10 win and could signify she has fully returned to her pre-illness form.
 Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #4) vs. [Q] Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO #110)
Head-to-head: First meeting
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni has taken advantage of qualifying for the Qatar Total Open with two more wins in the main draw. That puts her a win away from her first quarterfinal at a Premier-level event or higher since her magical run to the 1999 Wimbledon semifinals. She is looking for her sixth Top 10 win, and if she gets it over Agnieszka Radwanska, it would tie for the best win of her career, which came over No.4 Monica Seles during that memorable run at the All-England Club almost 15 years ago.
It would take a monumental upset to achieve that, though, considering Radwanska is in the midst of a 43-match win streak against players outside the Top 100. Interestingly enough, her last such loss came at the hands of sister Urszula in 2009 at Dubai.
 Petra Kvitova (CZE #6) vs. Lucie Safarova (CZE #28)
Head-to-head: Kvitova leads 2-0
Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova's tilt will not just be a clash featuring the Top 2 Czechs in the world, but it will also showcase two players who have recently been three set specialists.
Kvitova played a WTA-leading 37 three-setters in 2013, winning 25 of them. And sure enough, she comes into this contest having gone three sets in her last two matches, a loss to Luksika Kumkhum in the first round of the Australian Open and a defeat of Venus Williams in her opener here in which the American had a match point in the third set tie-break. Not to be outdone, Safarova has played six straight three-setters, winning five of them. If she takes down her countrywoman for the first time, it will be her 18th Top 10 win.