IMPRESSIVE COLLINS SETS UP OSAKA SHOWDOWN
Danielle Collins, Heather Watson and Ashlyn Krueger were among the players to book their place in the main draw of this year’s Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, as day two of the tournament hosted the final round of qualifying matches.
The main draw of the WTA 500 event begins tomorrow with the likes of Emma Raducanu, Marie Bouzkova, Caroline Garcia, Sorana Cirstea, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Xiyu Wang in action.
Today’s focus, however, was on the final round of qualifying matches, and there were some brilliant performances to enjoy for those fans watching on in the Abu Dhabi sunshine.
Grand Slam winner Watson’s match against Spain’s Rebeka Masarova followed a similar pattern to her opening match 24 hours earlier, with the Brit fighting back from a set down to progress.
Masarova took the first set 6-3 and while the second went right to the wire, it was Watson who came out on top in an entertaining tie-break. The third was completely one-sided, though, as the 2016 Wimbledon mixed doubles champion combined quality with consistency, taking the game away from her opponent to eventually win 3-6, 7-6, 6-1, setting up a Round of 32 clash with Latvia’s Yelena Ostapenko.
Having won her first qualifying match in straight sets on the opening day, America’s Collins never looked in any real danger against Czech Republic’s Linda Fruhvirtova and eventually recorded a fairly straightforward 6-4, 6-3 victory. Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka now awaits the 2022 Australian Open finalist.
After edging a tight first set 7-5, American Krueger won six games without response against Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti to cruise through to the main draw, where she will play compatriot Bernarda Pera, who overcame Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets.
The line-up of qualifiers from today’s action was completed by Czech Republic’s Linda Nosková and France’s Diane Parry, who secured straight sets victories in their matches against Spain’s Cristina Bucșaand Japan’s Mai Hontama respectively.
Elsewhere on day two of the tournament, which is once again being held at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, there was a host of off-court activities taking place, many of which involved the players.
To mark Kids Day at the competition, youngsters were invited to take part in clinics hosted by Tennis 360, with professionals Bouzkova and Parry coaching those in attendance, who learnt basic tennis skills designed to encourage participation and a passion for the sport.
Romania’s Sorana Cirstea then conducted a Q&A with the ball kids as a way of showing appreciation for their efforts out on-court.
Both Caroline Garcia and Barbora Krejčíková showcased their culinary talents as part of a Shangri-La cooking demonstration, while Knot hosted a number of arts & crafts classes in the Fan Village.
On a busy day at the tournament, fans were also able to enjoy food and drink from the multiple outlets on-site in association with Miami Vibes.
Later in the day, a players’ party was hosted on the beachfront at the Shangri-La with the likes of Ons Jabeur, Elena Rybakina, Osaka, Maria Sakkari, and Garcia all in attendance.
Three of the players – Haddad Maia, Barbora Krejčíková and Daria Kasatkina – took part in a mixology session, while musical entertainment was provided in the form of a saxophonist.
To purchase tickets for the tournament, visit www.mubadalaabudhabiopen.com/tickets/
Last Updated on 2 weeks by Middle East News 247