Last week we ventured out to watch the finals of the Qatar Ladies Tennis Open. The finals were between Belarusian Victoria Azarenka (ranked #1) and Australian Sam Stosur (ranked #5). As it was held on a work night, by the time we reached the match Azarenka was leading, with 6-1 in the first set. It was clear Azarenka was a stronger player, returning her shots with her infamous grunts – in the end it was a short but enjoyable game with Azarenka winning the title. Highlights included seeing Martina Hingis and Her Highness Sheikha Mozah who presented the trophies.
Earlier this month, we attended a couple of tennis matches for the Qatar ExxonMobil Open tournament. In preparation for the Australian Open, many of the top players chose to warm up the year in Doha, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Our first match was Rafael Nadal vs Ernests Gulbis. Great game, Gulbis played well and won a couple of sets but of course, Nadal won the match.
Secondly, we watched Nadal in a doubles match with his Spanish doubles partner Lopez.
The following day we watched Roger Federer play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a close match with Federer getting to the finals. Nikolay Davydenko also played Nadal in the semis. This was one of the best matches we watched of the tournament – unfortunately, Nadal was ill and Davydenko clearly knew his weaknesses. They had played in the finals the previous year and Davydenko, though seeded 26th or something, was the tournament’s defending champion. After some intense sets – Davydenko got through to the finals, leaving a very disappointed Rafa (and his large number of supports).
The finals were a good match between Federer and Davydenko. Federer won and, as always, made a humble, speech. His prize money was something like $200k – not bad for a weeks work!