The 2024 Qatar Open will take place from February 12-18 and begins a run of tournaments in the Middle East and is a WTA 1000 albeit with quite a few of the top names missing. But Iga Swiatek, the World No.1 and top seed will be there in Doha.
Swiatek will make her return after her crushing loss to Linda Noskova at the Australian Open and is defending champion this time around. Also she will keep her World Number One spot for now as Aryna Sabalenka is the big miss for the second year running. Our preview runs through the field and main talking points ahead of the main double header of action before Indian Wells and Miami.
Swiatek leads the charge flanked by Gauff and Rybakina
Unlike Jannik Sinner in the men’s Australian Open who is back playing this week in Rotterdam, Aryna Sabalenka has decided against playing this next week likely halting her return until at least Dubai. Deciding to party last year instead of playing Doha, she has decided to rest this time around with no indication unlike Novak Djokovic for instance that she has gone on holiday.
But it also gives Swiatek a leg up with the World No.1 neck and neck with Sabalenka initially if she played this tournament. But she didn’t so the Pole gets some sort of a reprieve. But it will likely be that she is under pressure next tournament with Swiatek only standing to retain as opposed to gain when it comes to her title last year.
Jessica Pegula is the big miss also when it comes to points with the American out due to a neck injury and so will drop in the rankings as a result of not playing at all no mind retaining her final placing. The main protagonists aside from Swiatek include Coco Gauff who has not played since losing out to Sabalenka at the Australian Open.
Elena Rybakina has played since and as of time of writing is currently playing in the Abu Dhabi Open final so will hot foot it over to Doha. Albeit she won’t have the issue of having to play straight away, unlike Daria Kasatkina who will.
Others involved include Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu. Albeit Osaka gets another rough draw and again will face Caroline Garcia in the opening round. While Raducanu faces Anhelina Kalinina, Jelena Ostapenko could await in the second round. For the top seeds, it is Sorana Cirstea or Sloane Stephens for Swiatek. Gauff faces Donna Vekic or Katerina Siniakova, while Rybakina is set for a clash with Varvara Gracheva or Zhu Lin. With a busy time of the season approaching, the time to start gaining form is now.