Elena Gabriela Ruse in action at the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge in Dubai
Elena Gabriela Ruse in action at the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge in Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy: Mohanan Oruvayalil

Dubai: Romanian qualifier Elena Gabriela Ruse is willing to work harder than usual and give herself an all-round opportunity of making it big on the WTA Tour starting next season.

“I have been putting in a lot of hard work and effort in improving all aspects of my game. The past few months gave me enough time to ponder and reflect what I need to do so that I can be a better player in the future. Now with the tournaments on in full swing I know exactly what is needed of me, be it the physical or the mental part of the game,” Ruse told Gulf News after sealing her best career win to enter the semi-finals of the 23rd Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge late on Thursday.

“I have been working hard, but I need to work even harder with the conviction that I can be where I would want to be in my tennis career. I am prepared to take my work even more seriously with the conviction that the results will show later,” she added.

Ranked No. 177 on the tour, the 23-year-old from Bucharest is one of the last four in the annual tennis tournament being held at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa. She’s been through the qualifying rounds, in a way giving her a longer period of adaptation on the quick courts here. “I am enjoying this week here, and to get the biggest win of my career while moving into the semi-finals here is like a bonus to me,” she admitted.

“There are a few things that I still need to work on. To start with, I need to gain some weight as that would further assist in my game. I have been working on the mental side of things since the past one year and that has helped me sort out myself mentally to an extent. I am on the right path and the results will definitely start showing as I head into the 2021 season.”

With a career-high ITF combined juniors ranking of 7 in mid-2015, Ruse has proved that she is one of the many juniors knocking on the door of the main WTA Tour. In 2014, she had an all-high, semi-finals in the girls’ singles at Wimbledon.

Since 2015, Ruse has been making steady progress on the WTA with her best coming at successive first round appearances at Wimbledon in 2018 and 2019. Her first two tournaments after the WTA restarted in August saw the Romanian fall in the qualifiers at the Palermo Open and then sink in the round of 32 after making it through the qualifying rounds at the Prague Open the following week.

Ruse lost in third-round qualifying at the French Open and then followed this up with a quarter-final appearance at an ITF Turkey event at the end of October. “I feel that everything seems to be going on the right track at the moment,” she said. “I need to just focus and stick to the plan going ahead. The results will come.”

The 23-year-old was scheduled to play fifth-seeded Katerina Siniakova in the semi-final at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa tennis court on Friday afternoon.