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Wildcard Challenge

THE WAY TO THE TOP!

Arabella Koller has impressively confirmed her role as favourite: The 23-year-old from Salzburg won the final of the "Young Ladies Wild Card Challenge" against 19-year-old Claudia Gasparovic from Lower Austria 6:0, 6:2 today, Sunday, at the Linz-Froschberg Tennis Centre. With this success, Koller has secured a wild card for qualifying for the WTA 500 event Upper Austria Ladies Linz 2024 (28 January to 4 February).

Arabella Koller, a protégé of former Salzburg Davis Cup player Gerald Mild at his "European Tennis Base" in Rif, qualified for the final with two victories on Saturday: First Koller defeated 16-year-old Ema Lina Picorusevic (TWR Team Donaufeld) 6:4, 6:2, then the Salzburg native, who plays for UTC Fischer Ried in the Bundesliga, won 6:2, 6:2 against 17-year-old Ava Schüller (1. Klosterneuburger TV). "Arabella is developing very well, she is training diligently, what she still lacks is the international breakthrough. She needs to be more confident, because she's at a good level in terms of her game," explained Gerald Mild ahead of the final.

His protégé fulfilled expectations and also impressed tournament director Sandra Reichel and ÖTV sports coordinator Marion Maruska. "That was a very strong performance from Arabella, I'm very happy for her," said Sandra Reichel. And Marion Maruska analysed: "Arabella deserved to win, she played a great match. I follow her career very closely, she has become tactically better and more aggressive." Maruska also revealed that she has the Salzburg player "on her radar" for Austria's Billie Jean King Cup team.

The Reichel/Maruska duo could once again be proud of the invention of the Young Ladies Wild Card Hallnge. The joint summary: "A very important event for us because we wanted to offer local talent a platform to present themselves at national and international level. We are also delighted that the Wild Card Challenge was such a great prelude to our tournament, which has been upgraded to a WTA 500 event."  

"Yes, it's great that we can organise this Wild Card Challenge in cooperation with the Austrian and Upper Austrian Tennis Associations. It is always a matter close to my heart to offer our young players this platform."

Sandra Reichel
Tournament Director

LIST OF WINNERS

2018: Mavie Austrian

2019: Emily Meyer

2020: Veronika Bokor 

2021: Mavie Austrian

2023: Veronika Bokor

2024: Arabella Koller