STARNBERG, December 11, 2020
Sorana Cirstea and fifth seed Katerina Siniakova will compete in Saturday’s singles final of the 23rd Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge held at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa in Dubai. Cirstea fought past No. 2 seed Polona Hercog from Slovenia 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in Friday’s semi-final.
The 30-year-old Romanian withstood 11 aces, breaking Hercog’s serve four times to seal victory in two hours and 27 minutes.
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“She plays a well-rounded game. She fights for every point and she is focused all the while. It can get really tough to handle such an opponent especially in such a long match,” Cirstea said, quoted by Gulf News.
“To my good fortune I fought hard and just stayed in the match. This gives me great hope heading into a final against an opponent who can be tough to handle as well. Every time I step on court the thought is only of winning a trophy as there is a big difference in having your name on another trophy and ending as a runner-up.”
Siniakova outlasts Ruse
Earlier in the day, Siniakova also had to go the distance to stop the fine run of Romanian qualifier Elena Gabrieal Ruse, winning 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4. The 24-year-old from the Czech Republic capitalized on seven of her nine break-point chances to prevail after two hours and 33 minutes.
“After what we’ve all been through as professional athletes, the first feeling is that of joy as I can have a rare chance to contest for a title,” Siniakova told Gulf News. “The goal of coming here was to make this event an important part of my pre-season preparations. So staying here as long as possible, especially in such wonderful weather was always appealing to me and my team. And being in a final always gives one a chance to have one’s name on a trophy.”
Cirstea has won all of the three previous meetings with Siniakova. The last match took place in the first round of the 2019 US Open.