Sunday at the BNP Paribas Diamond Games in Antwerp started out with the draw ceremony and tournament director Kim Clijsters invited Barbora Zahlavova Strycova & Carla Suarez Navarro to help her with setting the tournament field.
Memorable moments of the ceremony included Barbora Zahlavova Strycova drawing her own first-round opponent, while Carla Suarez Navarro refused to do so herself. Superstition was also apparent when Kim Clijsters politely refused to draw Kirsten Flipkens’ opponent, as Clijsters has been personally involved with the Belgian’s team.
While the main draw was being created, 16 players continued their quest to make it into the final round of qualifying.
Among the eight players punching their ticket for the qualifying finals today is young Belgian Klaartje Liebens. The wildcard player is making the most of the chance that has been given to her, delivering a convincing performance against Italy’s Gioia Barbieri.
With Liebens having secured her spot in qualifying finals on Monday, it was on another local girl to set up an all-Belgian clash in the finals and Ysaline Bonaventure did not disappoint the home crowd.
After getting past Laura Siegemund yesterday, Bonaventure kicked out another German player with a comprehensive straight set win over Carina Witthöft. Following her surprising Australian Open performance that saw her making the tournament’s third round, Witthöft was expected to qualify, but delivered a rather erratic performance here, giving the match away in less than an hour’s time.
Other players set to compete in the final round are Germany’s Dinah Pfizenmaier & Anna-Lena Friedsam, French Open champion Francesca Schiavone as well as young Czech sensation Katerina Siniakova.
Once all the qualifying action of the day was complete, the tournament’s top seed Eugenie Bouchard went out on center court for her Sunday practice session. Closely watching the Canadian was her freshly-appointed coach Sam Sumyk, former coach of Victoria Azarenka.
Expectations in the Bouchard camp will be pretty high with regards to the new partnership, since the Frenchman is credited with turning Azarenka into a two-time slam winner & dominant world #1, two objectives that are surely on the agenda for the ambitious young Canadian.
Bouchard will have plenty of time to prepare with her new team as the Canadian has a first round bye, meaning her first match will not be scheduled before Wednesday the earliest.
Monday will see the conclusion of the qualifying rounds and first-round doubles play out on court, the tournament’s players party will keep everyone busy as well. Women’s Tennis Blog will be bringing you all the action from the WTA’s newest tournament, so keep checking back for more from the Sportpaleis all week!