February 06, 2024

American Danielle Collins produced the performance of the day at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, defeating four-time Grand Slam-winner Naomi Osaka in straight sets to progress to the last 16, while there were also wins for Heather Watson, Cristina Bucșa, Magda Linette and Sara Sorribes Tormo on another action-packed day at the WTA 500 event.


Collins and Osaka, a two-time champion at both the US Open and Australian Open, went head-to-head on Stadium Court this afternoon, with both players barely dropping a point in their service games during the early stages and the American, at one point, firing three consecutive Aces.

After breaking Osaka’s serve, it was Collins who eventually edged the first set 7-5, and while the 2022 Australian Open runner-up’s performance levels intensified during the second, Osaka struggled to regain any sense of rhythm in her play.

Collins dominated the second set, breaking Osaka’s serve on three occasions to secure a highly impressive 7-5, 6-0 victory and set up a huge last-16 clash with World Number. 5 Elena Rybakina later this week.

Osaka’s attention now turns to the doubles, where she partners fan favourite Ons Jabeur today in a Round of 16 match against the Chinese pairing of Xiyu Wang and Saisai Zheng.

Watson, meanwhile, maintained her impressive form in the tournament by following two qualifying wins with another success over French Open semi-finalist Kudermetova to seal her place in the next round.

The Brit, 31, produced two solid performances in qualifying at the weekend and picked up where she left off, sustaining her impressive form throughout the first set, which she won 6-3.

Kudermetova responded well in the second and, at one point, looked on course to take it to a third set, but Watson’s quality rose to the fore late on with the 2016 Wimbledon mixed doubles champion eventually progressing 6-3, 7-5.


The day’s action had opened with a doubles contest in the Abu Dhabi sunshine as Brazilian partnership Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is through to the last 16 of the singles competition, and Luisa Stefani overturned a one-set deficit to defeat Anna Danilina and Nadia Kichenok.

It was a disappointing day for 18-year-old Filipino Alex Eala who was beaten in straight sets by Poland’s Magda Linette.

There was nothing to choose between the two players in a tight first set which was eventually settled by a tie-break. However, Linette, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open last year, produced a ruthless performance in the second set to progress to the Round of 16 courtesy of a 7-6, 6-1 victory.

She will be joined by Cristina Bucșa who recovered from falling a set behind against Wang to progress.

Wang, 22, won a close first set 7-5, but the momentum swung in Bucșa’s favour following a dominant display in the second, with the Spaniard eventually going through 5-7, 6-0, 6-3.

Sorribes Tormo, a compatriot of Bucșa’s, is also through to the last 16 after coming out on top in a three-set cracker against Czech Republic’s Linda Nosková, eventually prevailing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.


Away from the tennis action, in celebration of the tournament’s Mubadala Women’s Day, two panel discussions hosted by the WTA Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and WTA Tour title sponsor Hologic took place focusing on the most pressing health issues facing females around the world, and solutions to allow them to live healthier, more productive lives.

Ahead of her doubles match alongside first-time partner Osaka, World Number. 6 Jabeur joined one of the panel discussions, which were designed to bring greater visibility, priority, and resources to women’s health and nutrition, while Emma Raducanu, who faces the Tunisian in the last 16 tomorrow, met guests as they arrived for the event.


Elsewhere, over 4,000 children were in attendance as part of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open Schools Program, with the youngsters packing out the stands to enjoy matches throughout the course of the day and taking part in the various activities on offer in the Fan Village.

Following her victory over Eala earlier in the day, Linette enjoyed some downtime this afternoon by joining a candle-making class with The Knot in the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open Fan Village, while Mouza Al Ahbabi, Senior Specialist, Marketing Events and Sponsorship, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, conducted the day’s first coin-toss on Stadium Court.