Viktorija Golubic is the highest-ranked player in Fujairah
Viktorija Golubic is the highest-ranked player in Fujairah Image Credit: Viktorija Golubic Instagram

Dubai: Tournament Director Khalid Al Ali is confident that this week’s Fujairah International Women Tennis Open will unearth local tennis talent in the near future.

The inaugural edition of the competition — part of the 2021 ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour — will kick off with the first day of singles qualifying on Sunday. The sign-in deadline for the singles has been fixed for 6pm on Saturday with the main singles draw competition getting under way from Monday.

Played on the courts at the scenic Fujairah Tennis and Country Club (FTCC), the final has been scheduled for 1pm on January 23.

“The response to our event has been huge with nearly 300 players on the acceptance list. This merely shows the popularity of the sport in this part of the world even though this is the first-ever women’s tournament we are organising in this part of the UAE,” Al Ali told Gulf News. “We have worked hard to get this event to Fujairah, and we want an Emirati girl in the tournament who will be a true tennis representative of the UAE. This is my promise to the sport here, and I am confident we can achieve this goal at least in the next five years.”

Swiss Viktorija Golubic is the highest-ranked in the singles draw at No. 138, followed by Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova (No. 147), Denmark’s Clara Tauson (No. 152), China’s Xinyu Wang (No. 153) and Leonie Kung of Switzerland (No. 157). Other notable names in the field included Kurumi Nara (No. 160) of Japan and Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay (No. 178).

Among those who have withdrawn from the competition, mainly after travelling to Australia following their qualification for the 2021 Australian Open, include Italy’s Sara Errani, Greet Minnen of Netherlands, Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan and Japan’s Mayo Hibi, who have all departed for the season-opening Grand Slam at Melbourne Park next month.

The qualifying rounds will get under way from 9.30am on Sunday with Pemra Ozgen of Turkey seeded No. 1 followed by Yue Yuan of China, Ekaterine Gorgodze of Georgia and Daria Snigur from Ukraine occupying the top four spots.