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Karola Bejenaru faces tough test against 8th seed

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Qualifying success: Karola Bejenaru won in straight sets

Qualifying success: Karola Bejenaru won in straight sets

©Russell Pritchard / Presseye

Qualifying success: Karola Bejenaru won in straight sets

Karola Bejenaru is through to the first round of the $10,000 tournament in Lleida in Spain after coming through qualifying with another impressive victory yesterday.

After dropping just four games in her opening victory, she again won in straight sets as she raced to a 6-2, 6-4 success over Swedish player Sirri Victorsson.

However, the first round draw was not kind to the 17-year-old Windsor player who now faces the eighth seed Justin Ozga of Germany.

Twenty-six-year-old Ozga is a vastly experienced player and can boast 355 matches at this level.

She has won two titles in similar tournaments and has a career high ranking of 259 although she is now 595 on the list.

However Bejenaru's coach Przemek Stec is confident that the Romanian will give a good account of herself.

"She is playing really well but, of course, this will be a step up in class as far as the draw is concerned." said the Polish-born Windsor coach.

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"But that's not to say she is not capable of beating Ozga because I genuinely believe it is possible.

"At this level qualifiers, like Karola, can beat seeded players and the gap is not huge in terms of ability.

"It's as much about self-belief as anything else and if Karola goes out there believing she can win and with the right mental attitude then she can do it.

"One thing is for sure though – there will be no pressure on her as she won't be the favourite so, hopefully, she can play to her potential and that's all we can ask."

Stec says that his star pupil's mental attitude to her tennis has improved after an agonising experience at a recent ITF junior tournament.

"She was serving for the match at 5-1 up in the second set and she went on to lose it in three and that affected her confidence a lot." he explained. "But we had a chat about it and she has got over it as she has proved so let's hope she can get a win and her first professional world ranking point."


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