Diamond Ball the prize for first Qatar Open treble-champion
The Qatar Total Open has laid down a gauntlet to Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova by offering both players the chance to win the Diamond Ball trophy if either can successfully secure their third Doha title this year.
The 2013 Qatar Open gets underway on Monday and a stellar line-up will battle it out for the title including world no1 and defending champion Victoria Azarenka, last-year’s beaten finalist and world no9 Sam Stosur, and world no4 Agnieszka Radwanska.
And while the competition is expected to be fierce, Sharapova and Petrova have been given an added incentive of the Diamond Ball in their respective pursuits of the title.
However, should either fail to win the Qatar Open, the Diamond Ball will remain locked away until a player claims a treble of titles.
Given her recent form and previous experiences in Doha, Sharapova will be among the favourites for the 2013 trophy. The Russian world no3 has tasted success on both of her previous visits to the Qatari capital; firstly in 2005 beating Australian Alicia Molik in the final, before repeating the feat in 2009 against Vera Zvonareva.
Meanwhile, in slightly unconventional fashion, Petrova won the Qatar Open title twice in the same year, in two different cities, when the Qatar Tennis Federation ran an adjacent event in Berlin, Germany.
In 2006, Petrova defeated France’s Amelie Mauresmo in Doha before heading to Germany and winning the title against Belgian Justine Henin.
QTF President, Nasser Ghanim Al-Khelaifi, is delighted to introduce the Diamond Ball Trophy at this year’s event, and is hopeful someone can win the additional glittering prize.
He said: “It is very exciting to know that two players in the field – Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova – are possible candidates to win the Diamond Ball trophy.
“It would be an incredible achievement by either player to win the Qatar Total Open title three times. With the talented players in the draw, it is a very competitive field and will be an exciting week of tennis to see if someone will be able to claim the Diamond Ball trophy.”