DOHA, Qatar - No.9 seed Julia Goerges wasted little time in advancing to the second round of the Qatar Total Open, dropping just four games against Ajla Tomljanovic to seal the 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Goerges, who has previously been as far as the quarterfinals here, came into Doha hoping to reignite the momentum that saw her start 2019 with a successful title defense at the ASB Classic in Auckland. She’s struggled to string together victories since, suffering a first-round loss at the Australian Open and bowing out of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy in the second round.
Up against Tomljanovic, Goerges notched the perfect start to her Qatar Total Open run, dropping just four games en route to victory. Goerges saved all eight of the break points she faced, and struck seven aces and 26 winners against the Aussie.
“I’m very pleased that I was so consistent today,” Goerges told wtatennis.com after the match. “I’m always trying to find the right mixture of being aggressive but still having less unforced errors. I think overall I think I did choose the right situations to be aggressive, and when I didn’t have chances I stayed in the rally and moved well.”
Goerges edged through a marathon six-minute second game, with Tomljanovic throwing everything at her opponent in hopes of a break. But the German fought off both break opportunities, raising her level to hold firm before responding emphatically - breaking in the next game to build up a 2-1 lead.
This pattern would end up being the story of the first set: Tomljanovic once again applying the pressure and creating two break points, but Goerges’ booming serve bailing her out of trouble before striking back in the next game, breaking once again to extend her lead to 4-1.
The Aussie stopped the run of five games in a row, fighting off a set point to make it 5-2, but the German was unfazed, calmly serving it out on her next opportunity.
Goerges was just as untouchable in the second set, fighting off an early break chance from Tomljanovic to hold for 1-1, and then reeling off the next three games in a row to break twice and open up a 4-1 lead. Tomljanovic had three more chances to break in the next game, but once again couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities as Goerges continued her march to the finish line.
“I think overall I did a good job today,” Goerges assessed.” It’s never easy coming from indoors in practice and then playing outdoors, especially when the conditions are changing and it’s pretty windy.
“I think overall I was mixing up the ball well, I was moving well and still being aggressive at the same time. I think that was the difference tonight.”
The win sends Goerges through to the second round, where she will take on Slovenia’s Polona Hercog. Hercog emerged victorious against Alison Riske in a battle between two lucky losers, winning 6-4, 6-3 to advance.
“Riske will be another tough one,” she said. “I think it’s great that I get another match here and I have another opportunity to apply the things that I’m working on in practice. It will be a good one tomorrow.”