Dubai: Top seed Diana Shnaider overcame a gutsy Timea Babos, while Slovakia’s Rebecca Sramkova eased her way past Israel’s Lina Glushko for their rightful spots in the quarter-finals of the 25th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge at the Habtoor Grand Resort.
Leading by a set and a break up in the second, Shnaider had to stave off a sudden resurgence from the multiple Grand Slam doubles champion to ultimately win 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 and reserve her place for Friday’s clash against Carole Monnet of France.
Sramkova, who had slayed defending champion Daria Snigur on Tuesday, posted a straight-set win over Glushko to set up meeting with Elsa Jacquemot.
Shnaider breezed through the opening set 6-1 and got a break in the fifth of the second set. She appeared to be cruising along when Babos suddenly found her rhythm taking the feisty 18-year-old by total surprise. Babos broke back in the tenth to draw level 5-5 and then took the set 7-5 to force a decider.
Having called the physio a couple of times during the later stages of the second set, Shnaider refocused and got an early break to lead 2-0 in the third set. An experienced player in such situations, Babos continued to get better with her shot selection while displaying some top-level tennis. Ultimately, the former world No 3 on the ITF Junior Circuit, managed to just hang in and win in 140 intense minutes.
“There was no way I was going to lose this match. I was 100 per cent certain that I would win this one,” the 18-year-old said.
Time to relax
“This was perhaps one of the toughest matches for me on the tour. It was hard mentally and physically. Luckily, it’s going to be a rest day for me tomorrow [Thursday], where I can may be have one practice session and then relax and get ready for the quarter-finals on Friday,” Shnaider added.
The quarter-finals in the upper half of the draw fell in place with Rebecca Sramkova getting past Israel’s Lina Glushko 7-6 (4), 6-3 to book her place against France’s Elsa Jacquemot — a convincing 6-1, 6-4 winner against qualifier Maria Timofeeva.
Carole Monnet became the second French to advance with a hard-fought 7-5, 6-3 win over Croatia’s Jana Fett.
The doubles also got under way late in the evening with the top-seeded pair of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic fighting off the spirited duo of Ekaterina Reyngold and Maria Timofeeva 6-2, 1-6, 10-5.
Results (Round Two):
Carole Monnet bt Jana Fett 7-5, 6-3; Elsa Jacquemot bt Maria Timofeeva 6-1, 6-4; Diana Shnaider bt Timea Babos 6-1, 5-7, 6-4; Rebecca Sramkova bt Lina Glushko 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Barbara Haas/Sinja Kraus bt Zsofia N Gubacsi/Kira Nagy 6-2, 6-2; Angelina Gabueva/Anastasia Zakharova bt Emily Appleton/Isabelle Haverlag 6-1, 6-4; Alena Fomina-Klotz/Dalila Jakupovic bt Freya Christie/Ali Collins 6-1, 6-4; Yu-Chieh Hsieh/Jessy Rompies bt Nigina Abduraimova/Ekaterina Yashina 6-4, 6-3; Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic beat Ekaterina Reyngold/Maria Timofeeva 6-2, 1-6, 10-5.