Mladenovic Opens Title Bid At Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge With Win

STARNBERG, December 8, 2020

Top female players have come to the United Arab Emirates to compete in the 23rd Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge held at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa in Dubai this week. World No. 49 Kristina Mladenovic of France, top seed of the ITF World Tennis Tour W100 event, opened her title bid on Tuesday with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Poland’s Magdalena Frech.

Mladenovic capitalized on seven of her 10 break-point chances to prevail after two hours and five minutes. “It was very important for me to simply be playing here in my home and go through a tough first round match. It’s been a tough year for everyone all over the world and I am simply so happy to be playing competitive tennis again after such a long break,” Mladenovic told Gulf News.

“Our bodies are used to training, travelling and playing all over the world. This long break didn’t help at all but the good thing is that we are back to doing what we are supposed to do as professional athletes. Now the next step will be to find the rhythm all over again.”

The 27-year-old will next take on Romanian qualifier Elena Gabriela Ruse, who fought past Slovenia’s youngster Kaja Juvan 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-1 after two hours and 42 minutes.

No. 2 seed Polona Hercog also booked her spot in the second round following a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia. The World No. 52 of Slovenia sent down four aces and won 68 per cent of her first-service points to prevail after one hour and 30 minutes. Hercog will next face Aliona Bolsova Zadionov of Spain, who eased past Oceane Dodin of France 6-2, 6-4. The encounter lasted one hour and 24 minutes.

Tuesday – First Round Results

Sorana Cirstea bt Anna Blinkova 6-2, 6-1
Kirsten Flipkens bt Amina Anshba 6-2, 6-2
Kristina Mladenovic bt Magdalena Frech 6-4, 7-5
Xiyu Wang bt Timea Babos 6-3, 2-6, 6-1
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova bt Ekaterine Gorgodze 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Elena Gabriela Ruse 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-1
Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov bt Oceane Dodin 6-2, 6-4
Danka Kovinic bt Jaqueline Adina Cristian 6-1, 6-3
Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove bt Jodie Anna Burrage 6-4, 6-2
Dalma Galfi bt Mika Dagan Fruchtman 6-3, 6-1
Heather Watson bt Aleksandra Krunic 6-0, 7-6 (3)