Two seeds fall on opening day


Two seeds stumbled as Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva was the standout winner on the opening day of the 19th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge (AHTC) being played at the Habtoor Grand Resort Autograph Collection, on Monday.

Voskoboeva sent second seed Kristina Kucova of Slovakia packing with a straight sets 6-3, 6-2 after Russia’s Olesya Pervushina had dumped eighth seed Cindy Burger from the Netherlands 6-4, 7-6 (3) earlier in the afternoon.

The Kazakh girl who turns 32 a day after the final of the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge next Saturday, reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 42 in the first half of May, 2012. Her best performance in Grand Slams was an entry into the third round on two occasions, in 2009 and then in 2012.

Earlier, the four qualifiers advancing to the main draw were decided with former world number seven Patty Schnyder of Switzerland battling unpredictable winds before making her way past Agnes Bukta of Hungary 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. “I struggled with the wind shifts,” Schnyder rued.

“And even though I won the first set I could not predict the wind movement in the second. But by the third set I got into my stride. At the end of it, I think an additional set will always help me come to terms with playing conditions here,” she added.

The Swiss girl, who turns 38 on Wednesday, will next take on Barbara Haas of Austria in their first round match on Tuesday.

Schnyder will be joined by two Dutch players, top seed Quirine Lemoine and fifth seed Lesley Kerkhove. Lemoine battled hard for a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova, while countrywoman Kerkhove got the better of Valeria Savinykh 6-2, 6-4.

The fourth qualifier was Anastasiya Vasylyeva from the Ukraine with a hard-fought 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over Georgia’s Ekaterine Gorgodze.



(Final round of qualifying) Quirine Lemoine def. Viktoria Kuzmova 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; Lesley Kerkhove def. Valeria Savinykh 6-2, 6-4; Anastasiya Vasylyeva def. Ekaterine Gorgodze 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; Patty Schnyder def. Agnes Bukta 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

Round One of the 19th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge being held at the Habtoor Grand Resort: Olesya Pervushina def. Cindy Burger 6-4, 7-6 (3); Aleksandra Krunic def. Susanne Celik 6-2, 6-4; Natalia Vikhlyantseva def. Tara Moore 6-1, 4-6, 6-1; Galina Voskoboeva def. Kristina Kucova 6-3, 6-2.


Order of Play (Tuesday)

Court 1 (Start at 10am): Sabina Sharipova vs Jana Fett; Fatma Al Nabhani vs Quirine Lemoine; (12.30pm) Ivana Jorovic vs Anastasiya Vasylyeva; Nina Stojanovic vs Elitsa Kostova.

Court 2 (Start at 10am): Lesley Kerkhove vs Viktoria Kamenskaya; Viktoriya Tomova vs Su-Wei Hsieh; (12.30pm) Rebecca Sramkova vs Tadeja Majeric; Aryna Sabalenka vs Dalma Galfi.

Court 3 (Start at 10am): Cagla Buyukakcay vs Ksenia Pervak; Nigina Abduraimova vs Mandy Minella; (3pm) Evgeniya Rodina vs Mona Barthel; Barbara Haas vs Patty Schnyder.

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