Lin, Zakharova, Riya advance at Al Habtoor Women’s 25K


Top seed Lin Zhu of China downed Ipek Oz of Turkey 6-4, 6-4 to reached the second round of the inaugural edition of the Al Habtoor Women’s 25K in Dubai on Tuesday.

Rising Russian player Anastasia Zakharova battled past seventh seed Urszula Radwanska 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 in a thrilling first round match.

The Russian took three hours to overcome her Polish rival at the Court one of the tennis facility at the Habtoor Grand Resort Autograph Collection.

Promising Indian player Riya Bhatia recovered from a set down to beat Sofya Lansere 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in another match.

Riya, who was part of Indian Fed Cup that qualified for the World Group playoffs last year, failed to give any fight to Lansere in the first set. Stepping up her game, Riya never looked back and won the second and decider without much fuss.

Riya, who won her first $25,000 ITF in Nigeria in 2019, will next face Zakharova. Second seed and top ranked Indian player Ankita Raina pulled out after leading the first set against Shalimar Talbi of Belarus.

Both Raina and Riya alongside Sania Mirza will lead India in the Billie Jean King Cup World Group playoff tie against Latvia.

The tie is set to be held on April 16 and 17 in Jurmala, Latvia.

Former Davis Cup player Vishal Uppal will remain captain of the team. India were promoted to the World Group playoffs last year after finishing second in the Asia/Oceania Group I event, beating Uzbekistan, Korea Republic, Chinese Taipei and Indonesia. China topped the regional group event and will be facing Netherlands in an away tie.

Fourth seed Daria Snigur of Ukraine booked a spot in the next round after beating Berfu Cenzig of Turkey 6-4, 6-3. Snigur will now meet Gozal Ainitdinova, who defeated Martina Caregaro 6-1, 6-4.

Britain’s Jodie Anna Burrage fended off Swiss qualifier Joanne Zuger’s challenge to advance to the next round.

Burrage won the first set 6-4 only to see Zuger firing all cylinders in the second set. The Swiss the match for decider after winning the second set 6-3. Raising the stakes, Burrage wrapped up the match by winning the third set 6-3.

Earlier, Valeria Savinykh sent eight seed Isabella Shinikova packing 6-3, 6-4 while Marianna Zakarlyuk stunned fifth seed Indy De Vroome.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Abdul Malik, Vice President of the Emirates Tennis Federation, lauded Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman, Al Habtoor Group, for the launch of Al Habtoor Women’s 25K.

Habtoor, who is founder of Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge (AHTC), launched the new tournament on Sunday. The decision to organise the new tennis competition came in the light of suspension of many tennis events across the world due to coronavirus pandemic.

“Habtoor is one of the staunch supporter of tennis in the UAE and Arab world. He has always encouraged the development of women’s tennis and played vital role in promoting the game, said Mailk.

“This is not the first time that Al Habtoor Group has shown such initiative. AHG has always supported the UAE’s sporting sector strongly,” he added.

The Vice President of the Tennis Federation also praised the level of the tournament and pinned hopes that this will soon become famous Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge in the near future.

Malik also hailed the vision of Sheikh Hasher Bin Juma Al Maktoum, President of the Emirates Tennis Federation.

On the sidelines of the Al Habtoor Women’s 25K, the organisers also launched the fifth 5th Al Habtoor Tennis Cup.

The event will see matches in eight categories including: men’s and women’s singles, men’s seniors (35 and above), UAE seniors doubles (UAE nationals only, 45 and above), U-18 boys and girls, U-16 boys and Girls, U-14 boys and girls and U-12 boys and girls.


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