The WTA returns to Antwerp


Seven years after the last top-flight women’s tennis event was held in Antwerp, the Belgian city is back on the WTA schedule with the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games.

Taking over the calendar spot from the now-defunct Paris indoors event, the Diamond Games, held in Antwerp’s Sportpaleis, are organized and led by none other than Belgian four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters.

The massive 18,000+ spectator venue will be graced by some of the sport’s biggest names, as the entry list includes champions Eugenie Bouchard, Angelique Kerber, Andrea Petkovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Lucie Safarova and many more exciting players.

The tournament got underway with the first round of qualifying on Saturday and sixteen matches were completed on the two courts. Four Belgian youngsters had the chance to prove themselves on the big stage in front of their home crowd, having mixed success in their quest to make the main draw.

While An-Sophie Mestach fell prey to Germany’s Dinah Pfizenmaier in straight sets, Elise Mertens was unable to get past Nadiia Kichenok. It wasn’t all bad for the local girls though, as Klaartje Liebens gave the fans something to cheer about, making the second round of qualifying thanks to a straight-set victory over Barbora Krejcikova.

Perhaps the most entertaining match of the day didn’t involve any of the local players though, as Renata Voracova & Patricia Maria Tig fought for their spot in the second round of qualifying for almost three hours. A match that was filled with drama & emotions climaxed in a third-set tie break and Patricia Maria Tig took a dramatic victory , much to the enjoyment of the spectators who certainly got their money’s worth with that match alone.

As the clock approached midnight, Carina Witthöft started her match against Belgian wildcard player Lara Salden. Witthöft, who comes fresh from a very successful Australian Open where the German youngster reached the third round for the first time in her career, had no problems with Salden, advancing in straight sets.

The dedicated fans that stayed around for the last match to finish shortly before 1 AM were rewarded for their patience as Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure was the final player to reach the second qualifying round, besting Germany’s Laura Siegemund in straight sets.

Qualifying will resume tomorrow before the tournament’s main draw play gets underway on Monday. 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!


  1. Emman Damian, I agree, Jimmie48 is enriching this blog in a special way. Great job! My favorite shots in this set are those of Maryna Zanevska. She looks good in Serena’s dress.

  2. Emman Damian, well said. Varvara Lepchenko is a top 30 player and has no clothing sponsorship. At the Aussie Open this year I think she was wearing a gray sweat top?! The lefty is a good player, and just needs more confidence to close out matches she is ahead in. Maybe a clothing sponsorship could boost her confidence. Then there is Bethanie Mattek-Sands. When she lost her clothing contract with Adidas, she got real creative and the rest is history! 😉

  3. These players must have no sponsors and rely on old season kits which they can purchase at a very low cost. I hope that rising stars and other Top 100-200 players get enough wardrobe sponsorship. It will be a great help for them.

  4. These are awesome images. Thank you for sharing with us. So thrilling to see pictures of these athletes doing their thing. Their fun to watch on TV but your pictures give us a new view of things.

  5. I agree. I think on and off court personality counts too. But yeah, They should be sponsored well considering they ein great matches. They’ll think twice maybe with Bethanie this year. She won another grand slam and she is going deep in doubles tournaments. Undefeated so far this year. Let’s hope for the best!

  6. Emman Damian, nevertheless, she looks great in the last season’s kit. About sponsorship, a lot of things are in calculation on the sponsor’s part. Lower ranked players have a shot with rising or smaller sports brands. World No.42 Mona Barthel is sponsored by Denise Cronwall, world No.249 Alize Lim has been signed by Le Coq Sportif, and so on. A player has to be either highly marketable (in terms of her looks and social media following) or very promising in terms of ranking and results.

    Jim, you’re right about Varvara’s AO outfit. I think sponsors would benefit from being involved with Bethanie. She’s a fun player and regardless of her ranking she attracts a lot of attention. Plus, she’s an American and the US market is definitely the most lucrative.


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