Dubai: All three of the top four seeds booked their places in the second round although in contrasting manner on the opening day of the Fujairah International Women Tournament that got under way at the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club (FTCC) on Monday.
Top seed Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland made light work of Slovakia’s Rebecca Sramkova 6-4, 6-2, while compatriot and fourth seed Leonie Kung also sailed through with an identical 6-4, 6-2 win over Hungary’s Reka-Luca Jani.
However, second seed Clara Tauson of Denmark was made to dig in deep before securing a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win against Russia’s Anastasia Gasanova, while sixth seed Cristina Bucsa also had it tough as the Spaniard came through 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 against China’s Xiaodi You.
Seventh seed Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove was the only big name to fall as China’s Shuyue Ma got the better of the higher-ranked Belgian 6-3, 6-4, while in another match, Mariam Bolkvadze if Georgia eased through 7-6, 6-4 against Pemra Ozgen of Turkey to book her place against the top-seeded Golubic.
Meanwhile, former world No. 20 Ana Konjuh was stopped in her comeback by Belgium’s Marie Benoit after the Croatian went down in the super tiebreaker after being tied one-set all.
Benoit won the first set 6-3, but the 23-year-old former junior Australian Open champion fought back to win the second set 6-3 and force the deciding tiebreaker that the Belgian went on to win 10-6 and deny Konjuh one of the eight qualifying spots in the main draw.
Konjuh was the world number one junior on the ITF after winning the singles and doubles at the 2013 Australian Open. The same year she claimed the girls singles at the US Open while debuting on the senior tour in the top-100 when aged just 16. By the end of July 2017, the Croat had managed to reach a career-high of No. 20 on the WTA.
The official draw for the tournament was held earlier in the day in the presence of Abdul Ghafoor Behroozian, Chairman of FTCC, while Naomi Broady of Great Britain and former Wimbledon junior champion Daria Snigur were in attendance.
“This is the first of many more such tournaments coming to this part of the UAE,” Behroozian said. “We have made a fresh start in this tennis facility that bears the name of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. We have managed to stage such a high quality event in a short time and now we are keen to organise similar tournaments in the future.”
Tournament Director Khalid Al Ali insisted that the organisers were taking all precautions while implementing protocols to continue the fight against COVID-19. “The UAE has shown the sporting world that it is possible to have top-level events here with the success of the Australian Open qualifiers and the Abu Dhabi Women’s Open last week. We have plans in place for much bigger things and these will be revealed in due course of time,” Al Ali promised.
En Shuo Liang bt Rutuja Bhosale 6-2, 6-3
Marie Benoit bt Ana Konjuh 6-3, 3-6, 10-6
Katie Swan bt Kyoka Okamura 6-2, 2-6, 10-8
Tereza Mrdeza bt Lara Salden 6-2, 2-6, 2-10
Eva Guerrero Alvarez bt Sofya Lansere 6-4, 6-3
Katharina Gerlach bt Marija Semenistaja 6-0, 6-0
Naiktha Bains bt Naomi Broady 6-2, 6-2
Maja Chwalinska bt Marianna Zakarlyuk 6-4, 6-4
Clara Tauson bt Anastasia Gasanova 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
Viktorija Golubic bt Rebecca Srmakova 6-4, 6-2
Cristina Bucsa bt Xiaodi You 3-6, 6-4, 7-6
Mariam Bolkvadze bt Pemra Ozgen 7-6, 6-4
Leonie Kung bt Reka-Luca Jani 6-4, 6-2
Shuyue Ma bt Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-3, 6-4