Dubai: Dubai-based Russian teenager Rosaleen Alioussef is confident her experience of reaching the final of an ITF World Tennis Tour last weekend in neighbouring Iran will help her achieve bigger goals for the future.
The 15-year-old Alioussef, whose dad Nazem is of Lebanese origin with a Russian passport while mum Amal is Palestinian, reached the final of the J5 Kish Island ITF Juniors last weekend. In the opening two rounds, the Dubai girl got the better of her Iranian opponents Niki Naderiasrami and Fatemesadat Zanjani 6-0, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-2 respectively.
In the quarter-finals, Alioussef had to dig in deep for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Iran’s Meshkatolzahra Safi. In the semi-finals, she defeated Tuana Tinaztepe of Turkey 6-2, 6-0 and set up a meeting in the final against another Turk, Defne Cirpanli — who went on to win 6-0, 1-6, 6-2.
Despite the disappointment of losing in a close final, Alioussef was keen on looking at the positives with an eye on the future. “This was my first-ever final at this level and I have so many things that I can take away from this experience,” the Jumeirah College student told Gulf News.
“I could have played more consistent, like I did in the second set in the final. I have a lot to learn and this tournament is definitely the start of many things for me and my career as a tennis player,” added the 15-year-old who trains with former Tunisian Davis Cup player Essam Al Jallali at his Future Pro Tennis Academy at Dubai Marina.
Alioussef has been a regular in the UAE and neighbouring countries on the ITF’s World Tennis Tour tournaments since last year. After first round exits in singles and doubles at tournaments in Fujairah and Dubai last month, the teen did well to make her maiden final in singles and a semi-final appearance in doubles with Mali’s Coumba Niangadou where they lost to Cirpanli and Viktoriya Datsenko.
Alioussef’s performance last week gave her 18 ITF Junior Ranking Points that saw her ranking come down to 873. “The plan now would be to come down to around 500 in the rankings in the next few months. I know this is going to be tough for me, but I feel I can achieve this goal as well,” she said.
“And now that I have the experience of playing in a final a few titles along the way would always help,” Alioussef added.