Fujairah: Former junior girls Australian Open champion Clara Tauson upset top seed and pre-tournament favourite Viktorija Golubic 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 to become the champion at the inaugural Fujairah International Women Tournament on Saturday.
Played at the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Tennis Centre at Fujairah Tennis and Country Club (FTCC), the final proved to be a bit of a roller-coaster with both players having their moments of swaying the match their way.
Ultimately, it was Tauson — 10 years the junior of her opponent from Switzerland — who came through with a hard-fought win in three sets that lasted more than two hours on centre court.
“It’s been a fulfilling week for me and I am glad that I am leaving this lovely country as the first-ever champion in Fujairah,” Tauson told Gulf News. “There have been hard times since last year for all of us as professionals, but winning a tournament like this and for the very first time, gives me a satisfying feeling that I can carry forward as the season progresses.”
Tauson started playing junior international tournaments at the amateur level in 2016 while still only 13 years old. From 2017, she started playing in professional tournaments as well even though she was still to turn 18. standing 6ft tall, 2019, she won the junior girls crown at the Australian Open in 2019 pushing her into the limelight as one of the future stars of the sport.
The Danish teen came all guns blazing with breaks in the second, fourth and sixth games enough to hand her an easy 6-0 scoreline in the opening set. The top-seeded 28-year-old Golubic regrouped with an early break in the second set but Tauson broke back immediately. Once again Golubic nudged clear in the seventh game, and yet again Tauson kept pace while breaking back. The hard-hitting top seed then broke a third time in the ninth game and then served out a tough set to stay on par with her younger opponent.
The third set got off the same pace and intensity untul Tauson came up with a break in the sixth to go clear and never looked back for game, set and match in more than two hours of play.
“That break in the fifth game was crucial for the outcome. I was meant to be the underdog and I really didn’t have anything to lose out there,” Tauson said.
The doubles title was decided later in the evening with the No. 4 seeds Cagla Buyukakcay and Viktorija Golubic combining to fight back from a set down to win 5-7, 6-4, 10-4 against the third-seeded duo of En-shuo Liang of Chinese Taipei and Xiaodi You of China.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Hamad Bin Saif Al Sharqi, President of Emirates Body Building Federation presented the doubles winners and runners-up with their trophies.