Snigur stuns Wang on opening day at 24th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge - GulfToday

Snigur stuns Wang on opening day at 24th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge


Daria Snigur returns to Xinyu Wang during their first round match of the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge on Monday.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter


Former runner-up Daria Snigur caused the biggest upset by knocking off third seed Xinyu Wang 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-1, to be joined by three more seeded players in the next round on the opening day of the 24th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge.


Snigur, who lost to Romania’s Ana Bogdan here in the 2019 singles final, bid her time before easing her way past the third-seeded Chinese in three sets in 107 minutes on court.


“I was nervous out there. In the second set I didn’t know what was happening as it was hot. I was feeling very tired and trying to hang in there,” Snigur said after her match.


“At the same time, I wanted to play some good tennis and attack every ball as I knew I was up against one of the best players. In the end the key was to concentrate all the time,” she added.


Now past the first hurdle, the 19-year-old from Ukraine hopes she can bring out her best game during this week.


“Dubai is one of my best destinations on the circuit. I love this place and the atmosphere, and it would mean so much if I can continue winning. But then, it’s one day at a time,” Snigur related.


Also advancing to the second round was eighth seed Polona Hercog with a lop-sided 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 win against wild card from Egypt, Sandra Samir in two hours and 19 minutes.


“The first step for me was to get used to the conditions. There was a lot of breeze and the ball was flying around. I knew I had to just win the points while hanging in there, and the key of course was to serve well,” Hercog said.


“I also knew that I had to be patient with my game, give myself a few games and get my rhythm. And in case things weren’t exactly going my way then I had to implement Plan B or Plan C as the case may be,” she added.


“Winning the opening round is always a bonus and I hope to carry forward this form into the next few days here. I made the semi-finals last year and it will be good to take a step further this time,” Hercog related.


Kateryna-Bondarenko-750x450Kateryna Bondarenko becomes one of the eight players to qualify for the main draw.


Joining them was seventh seed Lesia Tsurenko with a swift 6-3, 7-5 win over Lina Glushko of Israel, while sixth seed Viktoriya Tomova needed three sets before winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 against Dutch girl, Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove from the Netherlands.


Bondarenko enters main draw


Former champion and long-time Dubai entrant Kateryna Bondarenko led a procession of the top five seeded players into the main draw of the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge.


The 35-year-old Ukrainian triumphed 7-5, 4-6, 14-12 against Great Britain’s Eden Silva to become one of the eight players to qualify for the main draw.


Hailing from a tennis-playing family that includes sisters Valeria and Alona, Bondarenko has been a regular at the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge while winning the singles in 2006. The same year, she was on to her way to a double crown while partnering her sister Alona, but they ended runners-up to Jelena Kostanic Tosic and Mervana Jugic-Salkic.


“It’s lovely to be back in Dubai where I have so many memories from the past. And now to qualify to the main draw means I have the additional bonus of continuing my return from injury while also preparing for the challenges ahead,” Bondarenko said after her win against a gutsy British opponent in an hour and 46 minutes.


Three months back, the mother of two underwent a surgery on her left knee, and is now in the process of returning on the tour. “Not playing for so many weeks has been tough. But I am simply too happy to be in the main draw now,” third-seeded Bondarenko said.


Top seed Julia Grabher also had a tough time with a 5-7, 6-2, 10-8 win against Zoe Kruger, while fourth seed Oksana Selekhmeteva also advanced with a smooth 6-4, 6-1 win over Peangtarn Plipuech.


Fifth-seeded Isabella Shinikova also went through with a 0-6, 6-4, 12-10 win over Tereza Mihalikova, while seventh seed Naiktha Bains became the lone girl from Great Britain in the competition following her 5-7, 6-3, 10-7 win over Renata Voracova.


Aldila Sutjiadi and Georgiana Ilona Ghioroaie were the last two making it into the main draw with contrasting wins. Sutjiadi beat 3-6, 6-4, 10-3 against Turkey’s Berfu Cengiz, while Ghioroaie defeated Georgiana Raluca Serban 6-3, 6-4.

There was good news for wild card Andreea Mitu of Romania as she upset second seed Anastasia Zakharova 2-6, 6-3, 10-6 and became the last player to book her place in the main draw.

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