Seeded Timofeeva and Makarova exit from Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge


Top two players Hruncakova and Snigur to be in action for quarter-final spots at Habtoor Grand Resort today

Two more seeds rolled out while another two advanced to the quarter-finals as the 26th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge entered its business end here at the Habtoor Grand Resort, on Wednesday.

Fifth seed Maria Timofeeva – who had lost in the second round, last year as well – went down 7-6 (10), 1-6, 5-7 to Dutch girl Arianne Hartono in a massive battle lasting more than three hours, while eighth seed Ekaterina Makarova succumbed 0-6, 6-2, 2-6 against Nigina Abduraimova from Uzbekistan.

However, holding up well was seed No.3 Rebecca Sramkova as she took less than an hour to breeze past Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech 6-1, 6-3, while Yulia Hatouka became the fourth entrant into the last eight stages with a smooth 6-4, 6-3 result against Croatia’s Tena Lukas, in Wednesday’s last singles match.

On Tuesday, red-hot Australian and fourth seed Arina Rodionova – who came here with back-to-back titles in the last two weeks - had joined No. 6 Tereza Martincova and former world No.2 Vera Zvonareva as the first major players to bow out of this tournament.

Top seed Viktoria Hruncakova, second seed Daria Snigur and seventh seed Heather Watson will all be on court for their second round matches to decide the last four making it to the quarter-finals, on Thursday.

Dutch girl Hartono was relieved after coming through a tough second-round encounter against Timofeeva. The match lasted three hours and 9 minutes and the 27-year-old was delighted to play another day here.

“This is amazing,” she said of her performance.

“In the recent past I have struggled in such close matches. But today I was more than happy that I was able to find my way through and make it to another day here in ideal conditions. The key for me today was to stay more consistent and aggressive in my shot-making, and this paid off in the end,” she added.

Representing the University of Mississippi, Hartono is the niece of Indonesian players, Deddy and Lukky Tedjamukti. She also won the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship winner in 2018.

Unseeded Abduraimova was pleased with her form against a more solid player like Ekaterina Makarova. “Moving into the quarter-finals is a good feeling, but even more pleasing is the way I managed to tackle Ekaterina,” Abduraimova gushed.

“The idea now on is to just stick to my game without putting any expectations on myself. Things get tough if I over-think. I will just step out on court and let my game do the talking,” the 29-year-old from Tashkent related.

Slovakia’s Sramkova was in a mighty hurry to get off court as she skipped through her second-round match against Thai opponent Plipuech in just 58 minutes. “I’ve not been feeling too good and have been taking anti-biotics for a cold since the past few days now. So it was best to get the job done as soon as possible and get some additional rest,” Sramkova said.

“But that aside, Dubai is one place that I love and feel so positive about. No wonder I have had some excellent results here in the past. The idea now would be to enjoy this moment and let it remain for the rest of the week,” she added.

Meanwhile in the doubles, Heather Watson teamed up with Olivia Nicholls to win 6-4, 6-4 against Lola Radivojevic and Isabella Shinikova to enter the semi-finals, while India’s Prarthana G Thombare and Anastasia Tikhonova also landed in the last four stage with a 6-4, 6-3 win against the British pairing of Emily Appleton and Alicia Barnett.


(Singles on Day Three of the 26th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge being held at the Grand Habtoor Resort, on Wednesday): Arianne Hartono bt Maria Timofeeva 6-7 (10), 6-1, 7-5; Nigina Abduraimova bt Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 2-6, 6-2; Rebecca Sramkova bt Peangtarn Plipuech 6-1, 6-3; Yuliya Hatouka bt Tena Lukas 6-4, 6-3.

(Doubles) Olivia Nicholls/Heather Watson bt Lola Radivojevic/Isabella Shinikova 6-4, 6-4; Prarthana Thombare/Anastasia Tikhonova bt Emily Appleton/Alicia Barnett 6-4, 6-3; Elena Pridankina/Ksenia Zaytseva bt Nigina Abduraimova/Natalija Stevanovic (walkover); Timea Babos/Vera Zvonareva bt Sarah Beth Grey/Arianne Hartono 6-1, 6-4.

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