Dubai: The top two seeds will battle for the singles crown after sealing final berths in contrasting ways at the inaugural Fujairah International Women Tournament at the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Tennis Centre in Fujairah on Friday.
Top seed Viktorija Golubic from Switzerland got a good measure of young former Junior Wimbledon Champion Daria Snigur to win 7-5, 6-1, while second seed and former Australian Open champion Clara Tauson was trailing Kurumi Nara 2-3 in the first set when the 29-year-old Japanese retired with an ailing left knee.
Golubic has shown great improvement in her game over the week with the former World No.51 making her first big final since 2019. The 28-year-old Swiss girl has so far won one singles on the WTA Tour along with another eight singles and 14 doubles titles on the ITF Women’s Circuit so far.
Golubic was pleased with the way she came through into the final. “It was a tricky match as she is a young, talented player. I had heard her name but I had never player her before. In contrast, I knew my previous three opponents,” Golubic told Gulf News.
“But this one [Snigur] was tricky and I didn’t know what to expect. That explained why I was a bit more nervous in the beginning. She has a tricky game where she sends in a lot of deep balls. And then it was windy and I had to adjust to that as well,” the 28-year-old from Zurich added.
Tauson, who turned 18 last month, has had a glittering career so far after becoming the youngest Danish champion in tennis at the age of 13 in 2016. She became a professional in 2017 and among her first success was the European Youth Olympic crown the same year, followed by the European Junior Championship title in 2018.
The young Dane has won nine singles tournaments on the ITF Junior Circuit with the 2019 Australian Open crown among her biggest capture – the same year when Tauson became the first Danish girl to be the world number one junior.
Tauson’s professional debut on the ITF Women’s Circuit came in September 2017 while her WTA Tour debut came in April 2019 and her debut Grand Slam came only in September last year when she advanced to the second round of the French Open.
Golubic won her biggest title since 2016 at the 2019 Indian Wells Challenger, where she saved a championship point against American Jennifer Brady in the finals. On her way to the title, she knocked out top seed Wang Qiang of China to mark her first Top-20 win since October 2016.
Golubic sounded confident about playing a second teenager in as many days in Saturday’s final. “I am happy to be in the final as the first seed. Usually, we players don’t think about our seeding, but take things match by match,” Golubic said.
(Singles Semi-finals) Viktorija Golubic bt Daria Snigur 7-5, 6-1; Clara Tauson bt Kurumi Nara 3-2 (retd.).
(Doubles Semi-finals) Cagla Buyukakcay/Viktorija Golubic bt Naiktha Bains/Rutuja Bhosale 7-6 (5), 5-7, 1-0 (9).
Order of Play (Saturday)
11 am (Doubles final) Cagla Buyukakcay/Viktorija Golubic vs En-Shuo Liang/Xiaodi You.
1 pm (Singles final) Viktorija Golubic vs Clara Tauson.