Another outstanding draw is set for the Qatar TotalEnergies Open, with eight of the Top 10 and a number of former champions in the season's first WTA 1000 event. The main draw starts on Sunday in Doha.
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus is at the top of the draw as the No.1 seed. World No.2 Sabalenka, who defeated Petra Kvitova for the Doha title in 2020, seeks to move past a second-round loss to Kvitova in this week's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Sabalenka and the other Top 8 seeds have first-round byes in the 56-player draw. In the second round, Sabalenka will meet either Liudmila Samsonova or Alizé Cornet. Cornet just made her first major quarterfinal at the recent Australian Open.
Main draw in Doha (WTA 1000), where 8 of the Top 10 are set to play.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) February 18, 2022
Other seeds in the top quarter are No.7 Iga Swiatek, No.11 Elena Rybakina, and No.13 Angelique Kerber. Kerber, the 2014 Doha runner-up, will meet this week's Dubai quarterfinalist Jil Teichmann in the first round.
Read more: Everything you need to know about Doha 2022
Vera Zvonareva, the 2011 Doha champion and 2008 runner-up, received a wildcard and is also in the top quarter, where she will play Alison van Uytvanck in her opener.
👋🏼Thank you @DDFTennis and thank you for the energy on the stands. Hope to see you next year!— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) February 17, 2022
Looking forward to the next tournament in Doha.
👋🏼Dziękuję za wsparcie podczas turnieju w Dubaju i mam nadzieję, że będziecie trzymać kciuki także w Doha. pic.twitter.com/57kvIsm2XU
The second quarter is led by No.3 seed Paula Badosa of Spain, who has a tricky second-round clash against either recent Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic or rapidly rising teenager Clara Tauson.
No.6 seed Maria Sakkari is at the other end of this quarter. In the second round, Sakkari will take on the winner of an all-American opener between 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and Ann Li.
Two Americans are the other seeded players in this quarter, No.9 Jessica Pegula and No.14 Coco Gauff. Gauff will play another American, Shelby Rogers, in the first round.
Looming as an unseeded player in the second quarter is former World No.1 Simona Halep, who defeated Kerber for the 2014 Doha title. Halep will face wildcard Caroline Garcia in the first round, and Gauff or Rogers in the second round if she gets past Garcia. Halep is 7-1 against Garcia.
Simona Halep is through to her 61st tour-level semifinal.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) February 17, 2022
Since Halep made her 1st WTA SF in 2010, players with the most SF appearances:
62 Serena Williams
61 Angelique Kerber
>>61 Simona Halep
58 Petra Kvitova
48 Victoria Azarenka
48 Karolina Pliskova#DDFtennis pic.twitter.com/9K9UwWlJQC
No.4 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia and No.8 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia head up the third quarter. This quarter also features No.10 seed Elina Svitolina and No.16 seed Elise Mertens, as well as this week's Dubai finalist Veronika Kudermetova.
Belgium's Mertens won the Doha title in 2019 when she surprised Halep with a comeback from a set down in that year's final. Mertens will meet Jasmine Paolini in this year's opening round.
The winner of the Mertens-Paolini match could meet defending champion Kvitova in the second round. Kvitova won the Doha title in 2018 and last year, along with her 2020 runner-up showing.
Kvitova will face off against Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round. Kvitova has won five of her six matches against Begu, but Begu at last got her first win over the Czech just last week in St. Petersburg.
The bottom quarter holds No.2 seed Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic and No.5 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain. Muguruza is a two-time Doha finalist, falling to Kvitova in the championship match in both 2018 and last year.
No.12 seed Victoria Azarenka is also in this quarter, as she seeks her third Doha title. Azarenka, who won the event back-to-back in 2012 and 2013 and reached the final in 2015, will play Yulia Putintseva in the first round.
Also in the bottom quarter is No.15 seed Jelena Ostapenko, who made the Doha final in 2016. Ostapenko, a finalist in Dubai this week, will play a qualifier in her Doha opener, and could meet resurgent Amanda Anisimova in the second round.