Sport | Tennis

Kremer breezes past Uhlirova

Former no 18 wins in two sets but omani Al Nabhani fails in qualifiers

  • By Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 December 15, 2009
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Xpress
  • Omani Fatima Al Nabhani returns to Marta Sirotkina at the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge in Dubai. Al Nabhani lost 7-5, 3-6, 6-0.

Dubai: Former top player Anne Kremer and Russia's Marta Sirotkina advanced in contrasting styles, while Ukrainian Anastasiya Vasylyeva was the only seed to fall in the qualifiers of the 11th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge that got under way after a day was lost to rain.

Luxembourg resident Kremer, who had achieved a career best ranking of No 18 at the end of July 2002, breezed past Vladimira Uhlirova 6-1, 6-1 in their second round encounter and then targeted a second match later in the evening in an attempt to make the main draw of this tournament.

"It's a humbling feeling to go through the qualifying," said the winner of seven singles titles on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

"But then this is life and this is the way it is going to be for me here," added the current No 410 in the rankings.

Baseline battle

"I will take it one match at a time," Kremer said as she started getting prepared for her final qualifying match later in the night against top seed Erika Sema.

Meanwhile, third seed Vasylyeva lost to Maria Kondratieva 6-4, 6-4.

On the first court, it was a battle between two baseliners that saw Oman's Fatima Al Nabhani crashing to a 7-5, 3-6, 6-0 loss in three sets against Russia's Marta Sirotkina in their opening round qualifier.

Al Nabhani had no one to blame but herself as she blew a 5-3 lead in the first set to be broken in the ninth and 11th games as the diminutive Russian took her chances and advanced to the next stage of qualifying against fifth seed Irena Pavlovic that was to be played later last night.

"It has been tough here as I did not have any time on court due to the rains. I know I could have won it easily, but I had to be at the top of my game. I was simply not there," Al Nabhani said. Despite the first set drawback, the Omani did well to pull herself together and take the second set 6-3.

But she did not seem to be anywhere in the deciding set as Sirotkina stormed through 6-0 and set herself up against the competition's second seed Pavlovic.

"I was finding it very difficult to play as I've not had the time to adjust to the courts here due to the rains on Sunday," Sirotkina said.

Also advancing to the final round of the qualifiers was India's Poojashree Venkatesha with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win against Belarusian Viktoria Yemialyanava, while second seed Natalia Orlova was in a hurry as she polished off Svetlana Smirnova 6-1, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Venkatesha.

Results

Anna Zaja bt Sophia Kovalets 6-7 (8), 7-5, 6-4; Maria Kondratieva bt Anastasiya Vasylyeva 6-4, 6-4; Marta Sirotkina bt Fatima Al Nabhani 7-5, 3-6, 6-0; Anne Kremer bt Vladimira Uhlirova 6-1, 6-1; Erika Sema vs Sophie Le Fevre 6-2, 4-6, 6-4; Natalia Orlova bt Svetlana Smirnova 6-1, 6-4; Poojashree Venkatesha bt Viktoria Yemialyanava 7-6 (4), 6-3.

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