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Ana Ivanovic d Simona Halep 7-6, 6-2
Ana Ivanovic is through to the last eight of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after knocking out defending champion Simona Halep with a 7-6, 6-2 win in a thrilling second-round clash.
Broken in the opening game, Ivanovic fought back to level the scores at 5-5, saving a set point and breaking Halep. The Serb then bolted off the blocks in the tie-break to a 4-1 lead and then closed the set in an hour and 18 minutes.
The start of the second set saw three consecutive breaks of serves, before Ivanovic held for a 3-1 lead and it was a cruise for the former world No 1 from there as she broke Halep for a third time in the seventh game of the set and then served out for the match.
Carla Suarez Navarro, the third seed, has been knocked out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships by Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, who bounced back after losing the first set to win the rain-delayed 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 17 minutes.
Suarez Navarro, the world No 11, started strongly, breaking Garcia twice to take a 5-2 in the opening, but then failed to serve out for the set. The Frenchwoman saved a set point in that eighth game and one more in the 10th, before Suarez Navarro finally got the first set.
After trading service games at the start of the second set, Suarez Navarro broke again in the fifth game, but failed to hold on to her advantage for long as Garcia broke to level the scores at 4-4. The Frenchwoman, ranked No 38 in the world, then broke the Spaniard for a third time in the set to push the match into a decider, with Suarez Navarro dragging a backhand into the net after saving two set points.
In the final set, Garcia broke for a 3-1 lead and that proved enough for the 22-year-old Frenchwoman, who is making her third appearance in Dubai. But she did have to wait for more than four and a half hours to complete the formalities as heavy downpour stopped play just as she was serving for the match at 5-3, 15-all in the deciding set.
World No 47 Barbora Strycova, who knocked Garbine Muguruza out of the Australian Open last month, is also through to the last eight after a battling win over Julia Goerges. Thumped 6-2 in the first set, she bounced back to win the next two 6-3, 6-1 and now awaits the winner of today's showpiece event, the Simona Halep vs Ana Ivanovic match.
Carla Suarez Navarro and Caroline Garcia are back on Centre Court warming up and play should finally resume at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after a rain break.
Play was suspended at 4.25pm following a sudden thunderstorm with Garcia serving for the match at 4-6, 6-4, 5-3, 15-all.
The top seed Simona Halep will take to Centre Court after his match, taking on former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic, while the match between Petra Kvitova and Madison Brengle has been moved to Court One as the organisers try to make up for lost time.
Play suspended due to inclement weather
A heavy downpour has held up Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia's victory march over third seed Carla Suarez Navarro, with the rains arriving just when she started serving for the match at 4-6, 6-4, 5-3.
There are no covers, so it could be long time before the players return to centre court to complete their match. It is still raining and once it stops, the staff will be out trying to dry up the court.
Playing on Court One, world No 47 Barbora Strycova, who knocked Garbine Muguruza out of the Australian Open last month, did manage to complete her match before the rains intervened, defeating Julia Goerges 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
The heavy rain makes the chance of more play today uncertain. We will provide further updates throughout the evening.
Strycova beats Georges in three sets
Barbora Strycova completes a stunning fightback to beat Julia Georges 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach third round.
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.
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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