Saudi tennis star al-Haqbani defeats Israeli Bilaus in Bahrain semi-final

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Rising Saudi tennis star Yara al-Haqbani defeated Israeli Isabell Bilaus in the semi-final of the J5 Isa Town tournament in Bahrain on Saturday.

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The 17-year-old Saudi will go on to face Russia’s Tamara Ermakova in the final on Sunday.

Al-Haqbani, ranked 946 by the ITF, beat 14-year-old Ermakova, ranked 2589, by winning two sets – scoring 6-1 and 6-0.

She faces a challenging opponent in Ermakova, who is ranked 634th by the ITF and has a win to loss record of 33 to 24, as opposed to her own 21-21.

That being said, al-Haqbani came out on top when the two played each other in the second round of the J4 ISA Town in 2021.

Born in 2004, al-Haqbani is the first female tennis player to represent Saudi Arabia at the professional level.

The Kingdom has seen a rise in female participation in sports in recent years amid a wave of reforms that have lifted many restrictions for women.

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