DUBAI, UAE - Sara Errani and Samantha Stosur led the charge of former Top 5 players into the final round of qualifying at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Sunday with straight-sets wins over Bernarda Pera and Christina McHale respectively.
2012 Roland Garros runner-up Errani, fresh off Fed Cup heroics last weekend in which she was the lynchpin of the Italian team's home win over Spain, had a tough ask against fast-rising American Bernarda Pera. The World No.113 had ousted Johanna Konta from the Australian Open and pulled off a remarkable comeback against Marketa Vondrousova in the first qualifying round here.
But the Italian recovered from a 0-3 first-set deficit to break her opponent five times in total en route to a 6-4, 6-4 victory and a meeting with No.10 seed Aryna Sabalenka for a main draw place. The Belarusian No.2 was a 6-3, 6-4 victor over Japan Women's Open runner-up Miyu Kato.
No.3 seed Stosur, meanwhile, beat another American in Christina McHale for the fifth time in six meetings, coming through 6-4, 6-2. The Australian, now ranked No.44, is playing her first qualifying competition since Zürich in 2008 and has yet to drop a set on her way to a final round against No.8 seed Maria Sakkari. The Greek No.1 followed up her first victory of 2018 yesterday with another quality win today, eking out two tight sets to beat Hsieh Su-Wei 7-5, 7-5.
Following a dramatic day of comebacks on the first day of qualifying, the second round saw just one match go to a deciding set as No.4 seed Wang Qiang overcame Danka Kovinic 6-2, 5-7 6-3. The Chinese No.3 will take on 2015 Wimbledon girls' champion Sofya Zhuk for a spot in the main draw, the Russian progressing after No.9 seed Camila Giorgi was forced to retire with a left thigh injury while leading 6-4, 3-4.
The Italian led by a set and a break, but after Zhuk broke back to level the second set at 3-3 and then survived four deuces to hold, Giorgi called it quits. The 18-year-old World No.145 will now seek to come through WTA-level qualifying for just the second time in her young career following last year's US Open.
The final qualifying round match will pit No.2 seed Lesia Tsurenko against No.6 seed Zarina Diyas after both won through in straight sets, the Ukrainian ousting wildcard Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-3 and the Kazakh vanquishing Veronika Kudermetova 6-0, 7-5. Diyas will seek to maintain an unbeaten record over Tsurenko, having won both of their previous matches in straight sets.