Zhang advances at Al Habtoor tennis

Top-seeded Shuai Zhang of China hits a return during her match on Tuesday. — Supplied photo
Top-seeded Shuai Zhang of China hits a return during her match on Tuesday. — Supplied photo

Dubai - The top seed kept off a late charge from India’s Ankita Raina before advancing 6-1, 7-6 (6)



By Team KT

Published: Tue 23 Nov 2021, 11:21 PM

The Chinese presence was halved as two more seeded players exited on the second day of the 24th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge on Tuesday.

However, top-seeded Shuai Zhang kept off a late charge from India’s Ankita Raina before advancing 6-1, 7-6 (6) to a second-round meeting against another Chinese, Qinwen Zheng. Zhang eased her way through the opening set, but then suddenly had to contend against an Indian opponent who kept on varying her game to good effect.

Down 3-4 in the second set tie-breaker, Zhang kept her poise and reeled off the next four points to set up a clash with Zheng.

But Saisai Zheng was the second Chinese to fall in the tournament. After 2019 runner-up Daria Snigur had caused a big upset with a hard-fought win in three sets over third-seeded Xinyu Wang on Monday, Saisai caved in to Bulgarian qualifier Isabella Shinikova 6-2, 7-6 (9).

China had four players in the main draw, including the top three seeds and unseeded Qinwen Zheng. On Tuesday, Xinyu Wang’s compatriot Saisai followed as she came up short against qualifier Shinikova while losing in straight sets against the lanky 30-year-old from Bulgaria.

“It’s been tough for me for sure. First, I had two tough matches in qualifying and today I had to do something special against a top player,” Shinikova said after her match. Fifth seed Ana Bogdan, a former champion and one of the favourites here this week, was the second seed to depart after she buckled 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0 against Aleksandra Krunic.

Results: Julia Grabher bt Andreea Mitu 6-3, 6-0; Yuliya Hatouka bt Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 7-6 (6); Mayo Hibi bt Oksana Selekhmeteva 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Vitalia Diatchenko bt Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-3, 2-6, 6-3; Shuai Zhang bt Ankita Raina 6-1, 7-6 (6); Isabella Shinikova bt Saisai Zheng 6-2, 7-6 (9); Qinwen Zheng bt Naiktha Bains 6-1, 7-5; Aleksandra Krunic bt Ana Bogdan 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0; Ilona Georgiana Ghioroaie bt Aldila Sutjiadi 2-6, 6-2, 6-3; Kristina Kucova bt Weronika Falkowska 6-1, 6-2.


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