Egyptians advance as French fall in Monaco

It was a disappointing day for the hosts as the 17th edition of the Monte Carlo Classic got under way in the French principality of Monaco with all five French hopefuls failing to make the main draw.

Melissa Alves, Chloe Mesic and Oxane Ah-Hu all fell in the morning’s first round, leaving Cyrielle Peltier, who scored an upset win over compatriot and national team member Maud Duplomb, to carry French hopes into the qualifying finals.

Peltier was up against the qualifying top seed though, and Scotland’s Lisa Aitken beat Peltier in three close games to advance to a main draw match against Switzerland’s Gaby Huber.

Other qualifiers were Holland’s Orla Noom, who survived a five-game tussle with Leonie Holt, and Egyptian teenagers Nouran Gohar and Salma Hany Ibrahim, both scoring upset wins, over Carrie Ramsey and Deon Saffery respectively.

Noom’s task doesn’t get any easier as she now faces second seeded compatriot Natalie Grinham, the defending champion bidding for a fourth Monaco title, while Hany also drew a compatriot in Omneya Abdel Kawy, the fifth seed who won here in 2010.

The hardest task falls to Gohar, the reigning British Junior Open U15 champion, as she goes up against top seed Madeline Perry, the world number five from Ireland.

Maintaining the Egyptian flavour, France’s sole remaining competitor Coline Aumard meets Egyptian third seed Nour El Tayeb in tomorrow’s first round which gets under way at 17h.

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