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Mubarka to meet 'Cici' Bellis in Qatar Total Open 2018 qualifying

Mubarka to meet 'Cici' Bellis in Qatar Total Open 2018 qualifying


Vinay Nayudu
Doha
Qatar's young and promising Mubarka al Nuaimi faces a tough challenge in a meeting of teenagers when she faces top-seeded and World No. 48 Catherine Bellis of the US in the 2018 Qatar Total Open Qualifying on Court 1 at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex on Saturday.
The 16-year-old Nuaimi, who made her WTA main draw debut at the 2017 Qatar Total Open in the doubles draw partnering Fatma al Nabhani, is a bright prospect looking to make her mark in the singles.
The qualifying rounds begin at 11am and Nuaimi is likely to be in action by noon.
In contrast, the 18-year-old Bellis, who likes to be called 'Cici', was the ITFJunior World Champion in 2014 and turned professional after the 2016 US Open where she drew attention towards her prodigious talent.
The match between her and Nuami should provide an insight into the two budding players for their respective countries.
Also around the same time, WTA's Breakthrough of the Month for January Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei will take on Russia's Vera Zvonareva on Court 3.
The 32-year-old Hsieh, seeded four in the qualifying, was a sensation at the recently concluded Australian Open where she made the pre-quarter-finals en route shocking Spaniard Garbine Muguruza and Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska.
In the fourth round, she gave former champion and eventual semi-finalist Angelique Kerber of Germany all she could handle for a set and a half, before falling in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 match.
Hsieh also reached the semi-finals in doubles at the Australian Open, with partner Peng Shuai, and also reached the semis at the ASB Classic in singles before falling to eventual champion Julia Goerges.
Among others fancied players looking to make it to the main round of the $2.6mn Qatar Total Open 2018 will be Japan's Naomi Osaka, American Christina Mchale, Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko, Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova, Italian Francesca Schiavone and Czech Marketa Vondrousova.
The qualifying rounds will last two days with the participation of 32 players of whom 28 take part based on their international rankings and four through wildcards.
Eight players from the qualifying round will progress into the main round of the tournament which will have 64 players in the main singles draw.
The draw for tournament proper will be held in the evening at 6pm.
QTSBF secretary-general Tariq Zeinal, who is also the tournament's general co-ordinator, said that all preparations for the event, which sees the participation of the top 10 world seeds, are in place.
Zeinal said that tennis fans in Qatar will get to watch several top players, notably world's No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who recently won the Australian Open, along with Romanian Simona Halep, Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, Czech Karolina Pliskova, Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko, Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, German Angelique Kerber and France's Kristina Mladenovic.
The tournament will also feature 32 players in the doubles category of the competition.
Meanwhile, QTSBF executive director and tournament director Saad al-Mohannadi said that Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex is all set to welcome the game's best players as well as tennis fans.
He added that this year's edition is expected to be extremely competitive thanks to the inclusion of the world's top seeds, which will be a unique opportunity for fans.
Qualifying Singles
COURT 1: 11 am: Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) vs Germany Sabine Lisicki (GER )
Followed By: Catherine Bellis (USA) vs Mubaraka al Nuaimi (QAT )
Followed By: Christina Mchale (USA) vs Anastasiya Vasylyeva (UKR )
Followed By: Xinyun Han (CHN) vs Andrea Petkovic (GER)
COURT 2: 11am: Naomi Osaka (JPN) vs Jing-Jing Lu (CHN)
Followed By: Sofya Zhuk (RUS) vs Francesca Schiavone (ITA)
Followed By: Tereza Martincova (CZE) vs Bernarda Pera (USA)
Followed By: Anna Blinkova (RUS) vs Jana Fett (CRO)
COURT 3: 11 am: Kristina Kucova (SVK) vs Oceane Dodin (FRA)
Followed By: Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
Followed By: Naomi Broady (GBR) vs Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)
Followed By: Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) vs Arina Rodionova (AUS)
COURT 5: 11am: Michaela Honcova (SVK) vs Danka Kovinic (MNE)
Followed By: Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) vs Ying-Ying Duan (CHN)
Followed By: Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) vs Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL)
Followed By: Monica Niculescu (ROU) vs Risa Ozaki (JPN).

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