on the excellent courts at the Metropolitan Resort &
Beach Club, eight of the world’s top 100 women players
came face to face with some of the game’s most promising
up-and-comers for an intriguing week of tennis that kept
the crowds on the edge of their seats throughout.
intriguing early round matches saw the big names upset
as they found the young starters full of youthful energy
and determination and it won’t be long before many are
seen on the bigger stages of the Grand Slams.
seed Emmanuelle Gagliardi, of Switzerland, fell by the
way side on Day Three when she was overcome by Tunisian
star Selima Sfar who herself fell at the next hurdle.
Third seed and recent Japan Open semi-finalist Aniko
Kapros was upset in the opening round by eventual
champion Jelena Jankovic.
upsets continued throughout the tournament until the
final saw little known Serbian Montenegro teenager
Jankovic face the more experienced Henrieta Nagyova.
day of the underdog, Jankovic secured a straight sets
6-2, 7-5 win against Nagyova of Slovakia to clinch the
6th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge title.
18-year-old Jankovic was a deserving winner in straight
sets, and Nagyova - the former World No. 21 - was the
first to sing her praises.
played really well and there was no way I could have
beaten her with that form. Just when I thought I was
getting back into the match she came up with some big
shots to knock me down again," Nagyova said.
was the first title of Jankovic'c professional career,
and few will doubt that more will follow.
”This is the first one and it is definitely special. I
hope there are many more to follow as I progress in my
career. I know I can build on the form I have showed in
Dubai this week,” Jankovic beamed after receiving her
crystal trophy from Sheikh Hasher Maktoum, Dubai
Director of Information and Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman
of the Al Habtoor Group.
Jankovic was quick out of the blocks, breaking her
opponent’s serve in the second and fourth games to rush
into a 4-0 lead.
Jankovic's pinpointed backhand returns were a strong
point of her game, and proved too strong for Nagyova who
was also carrying an injury. “She was quick on the ball
and I was a bit handicapped as I did not want to
aggravate my thigh, but that is no excuse. She was too
strong for me on the day,” Nagyova stated.
despite the strapped thigh - she also played with this
condition in Saturday's semifinals - Nagyova managed to
break Jankovic twice in the fifth and seventh games to
pull back a couple of games to trail 2-5.
Jankovic was not in a lenient mood though and secured
the set by breaking Nagyoya for a third time to wrap it
up 6-2 in under half an hour.
second set was more evenly poised with Nagyova matching
her younger opponent with a variety of play from the
baseline. And as the set wore on, Nagyova showed the
depth of her reserve as she broke Jankovic in the third
game to lead 2-1. But the hard work was in vain as
Jankovic struck back with a break in the very next game
to draw level and then held serve to go clear 3-2.
players battled in search of an elusive break. But that
didn’t materialize until the 12th game when a superb
passing shot from Jankovic found the far corner of the
”I had my chances in the second set, but I did not take
them,” Nagyova conceded. “But she was in superb form
tonight. She went in for the big rallies and made me run
all over the court. That put me behind a bit.”
But there was no denying Jankovic of her moment of glory
as she waited in excitement for the presentation
formalities to be over. “It’s such a fantastic moment
for me. I’ve had my ups and down. But this is definitely
going to be a great start in my career for me.”
But the most praise was reserved for the organisers who
once again proved that this tournament is fast earning a
strong reputation among the players on the Tour.
new champion was understandably impressed by the
reception and welcome she had received in Dubai.
said: “It's such a fantastic event that I want to come
for it next year as well. Everything is so great here in
Dubai. I got a chance to go out and I have felt so safe
and secure, the shopping is good and to top it all, I am
going with more than $10,000 in my pocket!” beamed the
tournament was in its sixth year and among the previous
players to have taken part is Jelena Dokic who is now
established as one of the best players in the world.
Arabs for injustices wrought upon them by Europeans is
disingenuous and even dishonest on the part of Zionists.
The Palestinians have suffered for the sins of people on
another continent and it’s time that wrongs were put
right and history objectively re-written.