The Russian has been in pretty good shape, recently making the Abu Dhabi semi-final last week. She was beaten by eventual champion Elena Rybakina in a close three-set match but failed to find the same tennis at the WTA 1000 event in Doha against Fernandez.
The Canadian has been working very hard to find the sort of level that propelled her into the US Open final a few years ago, but her first-round match in Doha was a good step towards that.
It was a very close and competitive match. Fernandez opened with an early break but failed to hold onto it as both searched for a good rhythm to start the match.
After that, we saw a couple of competitive games, but neither was able to jump out ahead until the final few games of the set. Fernandez took a break and won the opening set 7-5.
Winning the first set was crucial for both players because both are very streaky, and whoever won the opening set was likely going to win the second one. That's exactly what happened, as Samsonova couldn't find another gear in the second set while Fenrnadez kept piling it up.
She took an early break, and things looked decided. The Russian did push and try to get back into the match, but Fernandez was able to overcome all of those attempts pretty comfortably, except for the last one, when Samsonova broke back.
The Canadian then had three match points to end the match on her opponent's serve, but after she couldn't use those chances, the set had to be decided in a tie-break.
In the tie-break, it was just not quite a sharp enough performance from the Russian. The final score was 7-5, 7-6(4) for Fernandez, who moved on to face Paula Badosa in the next round.