Gutted Karola Bejenaru will learn from her tough loss
Karola Bejenaru made a disappointing exit in the final round qualifying at the £6,935 tournament in Stuttgart yesterday as she missed out on a chance to improve her world ranking by reaching the first round proper.
The 18-year-old Windsor player fell to a 6-1, 6-1 defeat against German player Laura Schaeder, who is ranked 566 in the world - some 400 places higher than her opponent.
However Karola's coach, Przemek Stec, remains upbeat about his protegee's progress in the professional ranks and explained that there were mitigating factors to be taken into consideration.
"We weren't really expecting too much from the tournament in Stuttgart as Karola hasn't played much tennis in the last couple of months due to an ankle injury." he said. "It's not an excuse but to be playing and winning at this level you need to be match-fit and Karola has still some way to go on that front so I am not concerned about the result."
Next up for Bejenaru is a series of similar tournaments on the mainland next month, starting with another £6,935 event in Glasgow from February 1-8.
Meanwhile, defending champion Serena Williams has confirmed that she is fit for this month's Australian Open, despite withdrawing from the Hopman Cup with a knee injury.
"My body is feeling great now, obviously I had a hiccup but right now it is doing much better," Williams said.
Aljaz Bedene retired hurt in the third set of his first-round showdown with Sam Querrey in the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Britain's No.2 won the first set 7-6 (7/5) against the American but Querrey rallied and fought back.
The second set also went to a tie-break, which Querrey won 7-6 (10/8), before play stopped in the third with Bedene trailing 2-1.