Kerber out to build on Australian Open success in Doha


World number two Angelique Kerber will be looking to build on her unexpected success in Australia as the Qatar Open begins in Doha this week.

The German makes her return to the WTA tour at the Premier event - where she was a runner-up in 2014 - having defeated strong favourite Serena Williams in the final at Melbourne Park last month.

She is joined by fellow top-10 players Lucie Safarova, Simona Halep - who beat Kerber in the 2014 final - and Agnieszka Radwanska.

Safarova is defending champion but is seeded seventh for the tournament, as Radwanska, Halep, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova round out the top five seeds alongside Kerber.

Belinda Bencic and Carla Suarez Navarro are the other top eight seeds, which means they all progress to the second round in Qatar.

Australian Open surprise package Daria Gavrilova will hope to build on her impressive start to the season and takes on Japan's Misaki Doi in the first round, while ninth seed and world number 13 Roberta Vinci is in action against Lesia Tsurenko.

Karolina Pliskova goes up against Russia's Margarita Gasparyan in the first round, while 13th seed Caroline Wozniacki takes on qualifier Ana Konjuh.

Timea Bacsinszky, Jelena Jankovic, Sara Errani, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elina Svitolina round out the seeds.

Eugenie Bouchard is another of the big names in women's tennis to head to Doha, entering the tournament as a wild card entry, and she should move into the second round having drawn qualifier Anastasija Sevastova in the opening round.

Over $500,000 is up for grabs for the winner at the end of the tournament, which runs from February 21-27.