The Australian Open is set to begin less than a month from now and players are competing hard in the qualifying rounds to get a ticket to the tournament. But before that, we are witnessing actions in other events, particularly the WTA Abu Dhabi Open. Here are some updates from the tournament.
British number two, Heather Watson was beaten by Ekaterina Alexandrova. Watson was broken in the first set but managed to win the second one. But she was no match for the Russian in the third set as the match ended 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-3. Alexandrova would now progress to the third round where she would face Elina Svitolina. Svitolina was the one who ended Vera Zvonareva’s time in the competition, beating her 6-4, 6-1.
Another similar surprise defeat was witnessed as Anastasia Gasanova defeated Karolina Pliskova in a game of two sets (6-2 6-4) and she has also earned a spot in the third round where she would face Sara Tormo. American teenager, Coco Gauff would also not progressing in the event after losing two sets (7-5 6-2) to Maria Sakkari.
Sunday was Day 1 of the Australian Open qualifying stage, also known as Round of 128. Winning would give participants a chance to play at the tournament in Melbourne. Not every player who would participate at the event in Melbourne would play the qualifying round. 32 top-ranked players, from both the men’s and the women’s side, were seeded and so have an automatic ticket to play at the event. This includes players like Novak Djokovic, who’s men’s number 1, Danill Medvedev, who is men’s number 5, and Dan Evans, who is currently ranked at number 32. On the women’s side, Ashleigh Barty, who’s ranked number 1, Sofia Kenin, who’s ranked number 4, and Ekaterina Alexandrova who is ranked number 33 are just some of the women that have been seeded to play.
Qualified players would leave for Australia on January 15 on chartered flights to give them enough time to observe the mandatory 2 weeks period of quarantine and some more time to train before the event begins properly on February 8.
Written by: Leon Osamor