Lina Glushko and Mika Dagan Fruchtman will be hoping for a winning start as Israel makes its debut at this week’s 24th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge.
Action in the tournament got under way with the first round of qualifiers on Sunday, where 18-year-old Frutchman was scheduled to make her presence at this event with her encounter against fifth-seeded Isabella Shinikova later in the evening.
The 21-year-old Glushko, on the other hand, is in the main draw of the competition where she will take on seventh seed Lesia Tsurenko from the Ukraine.
“We are thrilled to have these two young players representing Israel at our tournament for the very first time in the history of this competition. While we welcome them here, we hope both of them will do well during the week and be true representatives of Israeli sport,” stated Khalaf Al Habtoor, Chairman, Khalaf Group.
This year’s tournament promises to an exciting affair led by two Chinese – Shuai Zhang and Saisai Zheng - who are ranked No.1 and 3 for China and No. 58 and 87 on the WTA Tour. Wang Xinyu, who is currently ranked No.107, will be the third Chinese player featuring in the top-10 here this week.
Played on the courts of the Habtoor Grand Resort and Spa, the oldest professional tennis tournament for women in the region will see a singles’ draw of 32 players and a doubles’ draw of 16 vying for the ultimate champions’ trophies. The tournament’s first ten players are all ranked within the top 150 on the WTA Rankings.
First held in 1998, the annual event is now classified as a $100,000 + H (Dhs 365,000) tournament on the ITF Women’s Circuit. The tournament began as a $25,000 ITF competition and was then classified as a $75,000 event from 1999 to 2015.
Since 2016, this competition has been upgraded to a $100,000+H ITF event with some of the biggest names from professional women’s tennis making an appearance.
The main draw action will get under way with the opening round from Monday (November 22). The qualifying rounds that started on Sunday morning will see eight qualifiers going through into the main draw. The competition will conclude with the singles final on November 27.
Mai Dubai, Hilton, V Hotel, Habtoor Palace, Emirates International School, Habtoor Grand Resort and Diamond Lease are among the sponsors of the tournament.