Dubai: The youngest and the oldest went through to the main draw in contrasting manner on the final day of the qualifiers of the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open on Monday.
Teenager Sofya Zhuk of Russia breezed her way past Qiang Wang of China 6-1, 6-2 in under one hour while former Grand Slam winner Samantha Stosur of Australia had to dig deep for a 6-1, 6-4 win over Maria Sakkari of Greece in an hour and 21 minutes to advance to the main round. The good news came later that Qiang would still continue to be in the main draw after she came up as the lucky loser replacing Petra Kvitova, who withdrew with a leg injury.
Zhuk, the 18-year-old Moscow resident who came through to the final round after her Italian opponent Camila Giorgi had withdrawn with injury on Sunday, was in a hurry as she sent the 26-year-old Chinese girl packing in 59 minutes. The 33-year-old Stosur, meanwhile, who won the US Open in 2011 defeating Serena Williams, took her time against the 22-year-old Sakkari before registering a 6-1, 6-4 win and book her place in the main draw of the competition.
The two other players making it to the main competition were Lesia Tsurenko from the Ukraine and former Dubai champion Sara Errani who fought her way back from 1-4 down in the third set to win 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (4) against Belarussian teenager, Aryna Sabalenka.
Tsurenko was at her imperious best defeating Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas 6-1, 6-2 in 68 minutes while 2016 champion Errani clawed her way back with some handy play in the final set. Down 1-4, the 30-year-old Italian broke back and then served out 7-4 in the decisive tiebreak to book her place for the main draw where she will meet fellow qualifier Tsurenko today.
“Yeah, the idea was just to try and hang in there and keep going till the end. I just tried to make her feel that I was there. Maybe in the second set I was too down, so I just wanted to try to come up and try to be there,” Errani told media later.
“The only way to play in the main draw was to make my way through the qualifiers. I was lucky to get in, even for the qualifying rounds. Now it’s good to win three matches in three days as I need matches to be ready. But it’s not easy here. You go through three tough rounds of qualifying and I play again tomorrow [Tuesday]. This is physically tough, but I’m trying to be ready,” the Bologna girl added.
Results: Lesia Tsurenko bt Zarina Diyas 6-1, 6-2; Sofya Zhuk bt Qiang Wang 6-1, 6-2; Samantha Stosur bt Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4; Sara Errani bt Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (4).