Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge: Quarterfinals Are Set

STARNBERG, December 9, 2020

The quarterfinals of the 23rd Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge held at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa in Dubai are set. No. 2 seed Polona Hercog will lead the field following a 6-2, 7-6(3) win over Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov of Spain on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Slovenian struck seven aces and won 73 per cent of her first-service points to secure victory in one hour and 43 minutes. Hercog will next take on No. 7 seed Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands, who eased past Xiyu Wang of China 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 35 minutes.

Meanwhile over on Court 1, top seed Kristina Mladenovic was forced to retire in her second-round match against Romanian qualifier Elena Gabriela Ruse after 25 minutes in the first set at 2-2 due to a back injury.

Ruse will face Danke Kovinic of Montenegro in the stage of the final eight. The defeated Dutch lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 7-6(5), 6-2 in one hour and 48 minutes.

Watson advances

In other action, No. 3 seed Heather Watson beat Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium 6-4, 6-2 in 80 minutes and will oppose No. 5 seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, who edged out Slovakian qualifier Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 24 minutes.

“I am very, very happy with myself and the way I am showing improvement on a daily basis. We’ve known each other well and played so often against one and another, so it was always going to be tough dealing with her game,” Watson told Gulf News.

“Coming in today I had to stay aggressive and keep spreading the play around the court and keep her unsettled as much as possible. The plan worked and that gives me a lot of motivationg looking ahead.”

No. 6 seed Barbora Krejcikova from the Czech Republic, a semi-finalist at the season’s last WTA event in Linz, remained untroubled during her 6-2, 6-4 win over Hungarian wild card entry Dalma Galfi. The match lasted one hour and 18 minutes. Up next for Krejcikova will be Sorana Cirstea of Romania, who cruised past Italian qualifier Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-0, 6-3 in 70 minutes.