Dubai: Lucie Hradecka was joined by a couple of Americans as the eight qualifiers were decided for the main draw of the Dubai Tennis Championships, on Saturday.
The Czech Republic’s Hradecka, who was a last-minute replacement late on Thursday, made the most of the lifeline thrown to her with a main draw entry following her 2-6, 7-5, 6-0 win over Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.
Joining Hradecka were the last two Americans left in the qualifiers — Jennifer Brady and top seed Bernanda Pera with contrasting results. Pera had to really fight it out for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over the Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina, while Brady eased her way to a 6-0, 6-3 win over Dalila Jakupovic.
Meanwhile in Doha, Simona Halep served a notice for her rivals in Dubai when she won five games in a row in the deciding set of an astonishing match against Elina Svitolina on Friday to power through to the Qatar Open final.
Seemingly down and almost out at 1-4 in the third set, world number three Halep was roared on by a large and noisy set of Romanian fans to secure a remarkable 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over the Ukrainian.
She is scheduled to play Belgium’s Elise Mertens in the final after the world number 21 surprisingly beat three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 in the other last four match.
Halep described her dramatic win as “unbelievable”.
“I didn’t give up, I promised myself I would never give up against her again because I lost two matches very bad,” said Halep.
She added: “She played amazing. She moved very well, she hit the ball strong, she didn’t miss much.
“So I think was at a very high level of tennis today, and I’m really proud that I could win the match against her.”
It was her first win against the world number seven since 2017.
Results: Lin Zhu bt Liudmila Samsonova 6-3, 6-4; Jennifer Brady bt Dalila Jakupovic 6-0, 6-3; Bernarda Pera bt Anhelina Kalinina 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Zarina Diyas bt Monica Niculescu 6-4, 6-4; Ivana Jorovic bt Stefanie Voegele 6-4, 6-4; Lucie Hradecka bt Polona Hercog 2-6, 7-5, 6-0; Magdalena Frech bt Misaki Doi 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; Lara Arruabarrena bt Gabriela Dobrowski 6-4, 6-3.
— With inputs from agencies