Dubai: Egypt’s Mayar Sherif set her eyes on a second Grand Slam appearance with a 6-0, 6-1 thumping of Japan’s Akiko Omae on the second day of qualifying for the 2021 Australian Open being played at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, on Monday.
Sherif brushed aside her Japanese opponent in quick time with a 6-0, 6-1 win in just 50 minutes in the day’s opening match on Court 1. The Egyptian, seeded No.16 at the qualifiers, barely gave her opponent any time to settle in breaking her in the second, fourth and sixth games to open with a bagel.
The Japanese finally held serve in the fourth game to bring some respectability to the score, but by then Sherif was well on her way to an easy victory.
Last year, Sherif made history at Roland Garros by qualifying for the tournament and becoming the first Egyptian woman to contest the main draw at a Grand Slam event.
In Paris, she had stretched No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova to three sets on Court Philippe Chatrier before going down. It was one of many highlights in a stellar season for the 24-year-old, who went 28-12 and won the ITF 100K event in Charleston to help boost her ranking inside the top-130.
Sherif, whose growing profile in her home country saw her ink several new sponsorship deals recently, will be joined by former top stars including seen number one Kaja Juvan, No.3 Greet Minnen and former Wimbledon finalist, Eugenie Bouchard.
Bouchard is the highest-profile player in the qualifying field, a former world No.5 who remains among the top-10 most-followed tennis players on social media. After falling as low as world No.332 in March 2020, Bouchard improved her ranking to No.141 by the end of the season following a string of impressive results, including a quarter-final in Prague and final in Istanbul – her first WTA final in almost five years – and a third-round finish at Roland Garros. Bouchard is one of three former world No.5s to contest AO 2021 qualifying, the others being Sara Errani and Tommy Robredo.
Tuesday will be the penultimate day of the qualifying rounds to decide the final 16 players who will make the trip to Melbourne later this week.
This is the first time that the Australian Open qualifying is being contested on foreign soil, simultaneously in Dubai and Doha as the tennis world continues to adapt to life in these COVID-19 times. The 16 successful qualifiers from each event along with players eligible for a ‘Lucky Losers’ spot will secure their seat on a charter flight to Melbourne immediately after qualifying and be in time to play for the season’s first Grand Slam at Melbourne Park from February 8 to 21.
Round One of qualifying for the 2021 Australian Open women’s singles: Mayar Sherif bt Akiko Omae 6-0, 6-1; Eugenie Buchard bt Abbie Myers 6-2, 6-3; Margarita Gasparyan bt Martina Di Giuseppe 6-3, 4-6, 6-2; Kaja Juvan bt Storm Sanders 7-6 (4), 6-2; Greet Minnen bt Alexandra Bozovic 6-3, 6-4; Tereza Martincova bt Tereza Mrdeza 6-1, 6-2; Grace Min bt Harriet Dart 7-5, 6-2; Lesia Tsurenko bt Ivana Popovic 2-6, 6-2, 6-2; Jana Fett bt Ekaterine Gorgodze 6-3, 6-3; Guilia Gatto-Monticone bt Valentyna Ivakhnenko 6-2, 6-3; Mihaela Buzarnescu bt Lara Arruabarrena 6-4, 6-3; Anhelina Kalinina bt Pemra Ozgen 6-1, 6-1; Valeria Savinykh bt Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-2, 6-4; Maryna Zanevska bt Laura Ioana-Paar 6-3, 6-2; Francesca Jones bt Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-2; Marian Bolkvadze bt Karman Thandi 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4); Lesley Pattinama-Kerkhove bt Kurumi Nara 6-4, 6-4; Veronica Cepede Royg bt Asia Muhammad 6-3, 6-4; Claire Liu bt Indy De Vroome 7-6 (5), 6-2; Olivia Gadecki bt Lara Salden 2-6, 7-5, 6-3; Rebecca Marino bt Jaqueline Cristian 6-4, 6-4; Catherine McNally bt Daria Snigur 6-3, 6-1; Yue Yuan bt Maja Chwalinska 6-4, 6-2; Viktoriya Tomova bt Charlotte Kampenaers-Pocz 6-4, 6-3; Elisabetta Cocciaretto bt Gabriela Ce 6-3, 6-1; Whitney Osuigwe bt Katarzna Kawa 6-4, 6-3; Marie Benoit bt Seone Mendez 6-0, 6-2; Kamilla Rakhimova bt Xinyu Wang 6-2, 7-6 (1); Mayo Hibi bt Xiaodi Yu 6-4, 6-2; Harmony Tan x Allie Kiick 7-6 (4), 6-1; Katharina Gerlach bt Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-4; Viktoriya Golubic bt Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-7 (8), 6-3.