Finland’s Anastasia Kulikova will take on Alena Fomina-Klotz of Russia on Court No.1 in a qualifying round match of the 25th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Top seed Anastasia Zolotareva will be up against Slovakia’s Nina Danisova as the qualifying round matches of the 25th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge get under way at the Habtoor Grand Resort courts, from Sunday.
Currently ranked No. 280 on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), the 20-year-old Russian will be up against her Slovak opponent on Court No. 2 with a scheduled start at 10 am on Sunday.
Although so young, Zolotareva has already won nine singles and doubles titles apiece on the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour. Her biggest crown till date came at the 2022 President’s Cup when she partnered Mariia Tkacheva to claim the doubles title.
Starting her campaign at the same time and on Court No. 1 will be third seed Xiaodi You of China as she faces Laura Kietaranta of Finland.
Another Finn, Anastasia Kulikova, who has been seeded number two, will take on Alena Fomina-Klotz of Russia on Court No. 1 in the afternoon session, while fourth seed Emina Bektas of the US will take on Turkey’s Seven Oral immediately after.
Meanwhile, in the main draw, the young defending champion Daria Snigur could be the only girl to successfully defend her crown when the silver jubilee edition of the annual $100,000 (Dhs365,000) tournament is played from Monday at the Habtoor Grand Resort.
Challenging the 20-year-old Ukrainian will be 2011 runner-up and former Grand Slam champion Kristina Mladenovic along with the fast-improving duo of Magdalena Frech from Poland and Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia.
First held in 1998, and played at the Habtoor Grand Resort, this tournament is classified as an ITF Women’s Circuit competition.
The competition started off as an $25,000 ITF event, before being raised to a $75,000 tournament between 1999 to 2015.
Since 2016, the annual fixture has been upgraded to a $100,000 plus hospitality event on the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour while attracting some of the top champions alongside a fast-improving breed of promising young stars.
Created by Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Founding Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, the annual tournament has managed to live up to its hype of encouraging the development of women’s tennis in the UAE and the region, while raising the profile of the sport across the Arab world.
The qualifying round matches will start at 10am on Sunday, while the main round matches will start from Monday. The final will be played on Saturday evening (December 11).