Sabalenka, Mertens Lead The Field In Linz

WTA Linz (photo: Jimmie48 Photography)

STARNBERG/LINZ, November 8, 2020

World No.11 Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens lead the title charge at the 30th edition of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz, held at the Linz Tips-Arena from November 7 to 15.

Top-seeded Sabalenka will open her campaign against World No. 94 Jasmine Paolini of Italy. The 22-year-old from Belarus is seeking her third trophy of the season following her triumphs at the Qatar Total Open in Doha and at the Ostrava Open two weeks ago.

Elise Mertens, No. 2 seed of the WTA International Event, will play Ukrainian qualifier Anhelina Kalinina in the first round. “I had four days off after Ostrava and then I started practicing again,” Mertens told journalists during Sunday’s media day in Linz. Alongside Sabalenka, the 24-year-old Belgian clinched the doubles title at the WTA Premier event in the north-east of the Czech Republic.

“Aryna was on fire that week,” said Mertens. “We struggled a bit in our first doubles matches but then we managed to get the win. We were a team on court, and she took the title in singles, too. It was an unforgettable week for her.”

The Upper Austria Ladies will be the final WTA tournament of the season. “It’s one more week and I’m mentally as well as physically prepared for a tough one. I don’t know what to expect but of course I always try to win,” Mertens is motivated for the start of the main draw on Monday.

Yastremska sets high goals

World No. 29 Dayana Yastremska of the Ukraine will open her title bid against Greet Minnen from Belgium. “I want to win the tournament,” the No. 3 seed said about her goals for this week and added: “I will also try to play a different style of a game.”

Ekaterina Alexandrova rounds out the Top 4 seeds in Linz. The 25-year-old Russian will face Katerina Siniakova from the Czech Republic in her opening match.

Qualifiers complete main draw

In Sunday’s final round of qualifying, five players have earned a spot in the main draw: Oceane Dodin of France (6-2, 7-5 against Laura Ioana Paar from Romania), Jana Fett from Croatia (6-1, 4-6, 6-2 against Irina Bara of Romania), Anhelina Kalinina (6-0, 6-4 against fellow Ukrainian Katarina Zavatska), Tereza Martincova from the Czech Republic (6-2, 1-6, 6-3 against Sabine Lisicki of Germany), Stefanie Voegele from Switzerland (6-2, 3-6, 6-2 against Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove from the Netherlands), France’s Harmony Tan (leading 4-1 when Jaqueline Cristina from Romania was forced to retire).

Hawk-Eye-Live in the “City of Innovation”

The Upper Austria Ladies Linz is the first WTA tournament to use ‘Hawk-Eye live’ instead of lines judges allowing for less people on site during the times of the coronavirus pandemic.

The tracking technology was introduced at the Western & Southern Open combined event in New York in August followed by the US Open. “The ‘Hawk-Eye Live’ has been one of the hot topics in the tennis world, and I am proud that we can now also present this innovation in Linz, the ‘City of Innovation’. I’m very excited,” tournament director Sandra Reichel said.

Austria’s number one, Barbara Haas, who entered her home tournament with a wild card and will play No. 5 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, has already had very good experiences with the Electronic Line Calling: “I played with it at the US Open and I thought it was very cool. This will make everything easier. I hope it will be introduced in more tournaments,” she said.