Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Live: Day 2

The National's Ahmed Rizvi and Jon Turner are at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to bring you live reports from the WTA tournament action.
Serbian Jelena Jankovic returns the ball to Swiss Belinda Bencic during their WTA tennis match on the second day of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on February 16, 2016 in Dubai. / AFP / MARWAN NAAMANI
Serbian Jelena Jankovic returns the ball to Swiss Belinda Bencic during their WTA tennis match on the second day of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on February 16, 2016 in Dubai. / AFP / MARWAN NAAMANI

The National’s Ahmed Rizvi and Jon Turner are at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to bring you live reports from the WTA tournament action.

Jon and Ahmed are at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, with the day’s play already begun. Check here periodically for updates and reports.

Jelena Jankovic d Belinda Bencic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4

Jelena Jankovic produced a stunning fightback to defeat No 5 seed Belinda Bencic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 to reach the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

In a high-quality match between two accomplished baseliners, Bencic claimed the early break in the first set to lead 2-1, and with neither player wavering on serve thereafter, the 18-year-old Swiss closed out the opening set.

The second set proved an equally tight affair as both players exchanged breaks in games seven and eight. With Bencic serving to stay in the set at 5-6, Jankovic outlasted her opponent in a game that featured six deuce points.

The third set went a similar way to the preceding sets, and the only break of serve proved fatal for Bencic when serving at 4-5.

Jankovic, 30, will next face Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.

Sara Errani d Saisai Zheng 7-5, 6-3

Sara Errani, the 2013 Dubai finalist, is through to the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, but her progress was not as smooth as expected.

Chinese qualifier Saisai Zheng, 22, came out all guns blazing and was up 5-1, when the Italian got into her groove and won six games on the trot to clinch the opening set in 57 minutes 7-5.

There was a bit of drama in the middle of the second set as well when Zheng, ranked No 72 in the world, clawed back from 4-1 down to 4-3, but Errani cut her rally short by breaking back and then serving out for the match.

Ana Ivanovic d Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-0

Ana Ivanovic, the former world No 1, has set up a mouth-watering clash with top seed and defending champion Simona Halep after blowing Australian Daria Gavrilova off the courts.

Gavrilova, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open before losing to Dubai third seed Carla Suarez Navarro, started promisingly, putting pressure on Ivanovic’s serve in the opening game, but missed two break points.

The Aussie then dropped her serve at love in the next and, though she broke back in the third game, Ivanovic broke her twice more to close the first set in 28 minutes.

The Serb then broke Gavrilova three times in the second set as well and the match was over in 53 minutes.

Czech Barbora Strycova, meanwhile, will meet Julia Goerges in the second round after defeating Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-3.

Elina Svitolina d Jana Cepelova 6-3, 6-1

Elina Svitolina will meet second seed Garbine Muguruza in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after battling past qualifier Jana Cepelova 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and seven minutes.

Serving for the first set at 5-0, Svitolina lost her way momentarily and dropped her serve twice, but then cut short Cepelova’s rally by breaking the Slovak for a third time to close the set in 26 minutes.

Cepelova, the world No 133, started the second set with a break, but then dropped her serve twice and wasted six break points in the marathon 17-minute fifth game to give Svitolina a 4-1 lead and that sealed the fate of the match.

Barbora Strycova d Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-3

Below, find today’s order of play and read Jon on tomorrow’s headline contest:

Order of play

MATCH OF THE DAY

1-Simona Halep v Ana Ivanovic

Dubai fans, and of course the organisers as well, would have preferred to see these two clash in the later stages of the tournament, for Halep and Ivanovic are two of the biggest crowd-pullers of the Tour.

Read more: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – The National’s full coverage

The draw has, however, decided otherwise and the defending champion will start her campaign against the former world No 1, who looked sharp in her first round win over Daria Gavrilova, dropping just one game in the 53-minute romp. Head-to-head, Halep is 2-1 ahead in completed matches, but only a reckless punter would dare to predict the winner of this clash.

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Published: February 16, 2016 04:00 AM

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