February 08, 2023
Seeded players Beatriz Haddad Maia and Liudmila Samsonova both needed three sets to secure their places in the last-16 stage as the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council delivered another entertaining day of tennis.
On the third day of the inaugural WTA 500-level tournament at the International Tennis Centre, the Brazilian was made to work in her 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory against Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova on Stadium Court.
After losing the first set, Haddad Maia, the World No.14 showed her class, breaking Bouzkova’s serve at 5-3 to clinch the second set. Her confidence soared as the match went on and she dominated the decider, needing only 32 minutes to seal the third set 6-0.
Speaking after the match, she said: “Marie Bouzkova is a very competitive player and I had practised hard over the last few days to be 100 per cent ready and I’m happy with how I played. I can only focus on the next game and along with my coach, I’ll watch videos of my next opponent to come up with the best strategy and improve my game.”
Meanwhile, eighth seed and World No.19 Samsonova also recovered from a set down to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 against USA’s Claire Liu, who replaced Paula Badosa after the Spaniard withdrew from her first-round match due to a viral illness.
Speaking after the match, Samsonova said: “It was not easy to find my game and I was very nervous at the beginning. But in the second set, I started to play more aggressively and it worked. Playing at the start of the season is sometimes tough so getting as much game time as possible will help me for the rest of 2023.”
Due to personal reasons, two-time Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza also withdrew from her highly anticipated match against Karolína Plíšková that would have seen the former World No1s go head-to-head.
She was replaced by Belgium’s Ysaline Bonaventure but the Czech proved to be too strong as she breezed into the next round with a 6-1, 6-3 in a contest that lasted 47 minutes. She will next face third seed and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the last-16.
Meanwhile, in the only doubles match of the day, Belinda Bencic and Elise Mertens ran out 6-1, 6-1 winners over Alicja Rosolska and Erin Routliffe to advance to the last-eight.