Dubai: Former champion Sara Errani led a handful of top stars into the second round of qualifying on the opening day of the Dubai Tennis Championships at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Saturday.
Errani, a champion here in 2016, was the quickest winner on Day One with a 6-1, 6-0 win in 53 minutes over a hapless Shuko Aoyama of Japan. Joining the 2012 French Open runner-up will be US Open champion Samantha Stosur after the Australian fought her way past last-minute alternate Ankita Raina 6-4, 6-4 in the last match on Court One yesterday.
Su-Wei Hsieh, a champion at the 2016 Al Habtoor Tennis Champion also went through the second round of qualifiers with a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 win over Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova, while fast-improving Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka blew off China’s Lin Zhu 6-1, 6-3 in a little over an hour of Court One action.
“Yes, that was the basic idea … stay aggressive and give her no time to settle down to her game,” Sabalenka told Gulf News.
“I have come here with a lot of expectations, and the ideal thing would be to enter the main draw and see how far I can go into the week. But for the time-being it is one match at a time for me,” the 19-year-old added.
In a battle between two of the best Arab players, Ons Jabeur of Tunisia got the measure of Omani Fatma Al Nabhani before winning 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-2 in an hour and 56 minutes. Jabeur will next play Lesia Tsurenko from the Ukraine.
Action will continue at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Sunday with the second round of qualifiers.
Maria Sakkari bt Yafan Wang 4-6, 6-3, 3-3 (retd.); Ons Jabeur bt Fatma Al Nabhani 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-2; Aryna Sabalenka bt Lin Zhu 6-1, 6-3; Su-Wei Hsieh bt Kristina Kucova 6-3, 4-6, 6-0; Lesia Tsurenko bt Ying-Ying Duan 5-7, 7-5, 6-4; Sara Errani bt Shuko Aoyama 6-1, 6-0; Miyu Kato bt Chantal Skamlova 6-2, 6-0; Valentyna Ivakhnenko bt Qiang Wang 6-1, 6-0; Sofya Zhuk bt Alexandra Dulgheru 7-6 (2), 7-6 (7); Camila Giorgi bt Nao Hibino 6-2, 6-3; Veronika Kudermetova vs Katarina Zavatska 6-3, 6-0; Danka Kovinic bt Junri Namigata 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3; Bernarda Pera bt Marketa Vondrousova 0-6, 6-3, 6-0; Christina McHale bt Amandine Hesse 7-5, 6-3; Zarina Diyas bt Eden Silva 6-1, 6-3; Samantha Stosur bt Ankita Raina 6-4, 6-4.
Sunday’s Order of Play
Court 1 (Start at 10.30 am) Su-Wei Hsieh vs Maria Sakkari; Lesia Tsurenko vs Ons Jabeur; Samantha Stosur vs Christina McHale.
Court 2 (Start at 10.30 am) Qiang Wang vs Danka Kovinic; Sara Errani vs Bernarda Pera.
Court 3 (Start at 10.30 am) Sofya Zhuk vs Camila Giorgi; Veronika Kudermetova vs Zarina Diyas; Aryna Sabalenka vs Miyu Kato.