DUBAI // Caroline Wozniacki fought back from a set down to beat Australian Open champion Samantha Stosur 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 and book her place in the third round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship.
Bothered by a knee problem, the 2011 Dubai champion lost the opening set in 44 minutes, but coming back after a seven-minute injury break, she looked in complete command and cruised through the second set in 36 minutes.
The Dane bolted off the blocks in the deciding set as well and was serving for the match at 5-2, but the Australian broke her and then fought back to level the scores at 5-5. She failed to hold on to her own serve in the next game though and Wozniacki finally closed it after an two hour and 41 minute engrossing duel.
Wozniacki’s next opponent is last year’s losing finalist Alize Cornet, who beat Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey 6-2, 6-4.
World No 8 Agnieszka Radwanska overcame illness and extreme heat to advance after beating Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
“I came from Poland under different conditions, and there was a lot of sickness going on out there. Everybody was sick,” she said. “I came here not really 100 per cent well. But I think the most important part is that I was able to finish that match and win that match, so that’s the most important thing.”
The 30th ranked Garcia matched Radwanska for the first six games as the match stayed on serve, but the Pole posted the first break of service of the match in the seventh to lead 4-3.
Radwanska then closed out the first set 6-3 with another break of service after Garcia double faulted at 15-40.
The second set saw the French player show renewed reserves of energy as she broke Radwanska twice to lead 4-1.
The 32°C heat was proving too much for Radwanska, and play was stopped for eight minutes as she received attention from the medical staff.
“I was getting a bit worse and worse but didn’t go to the line that I would have to stop,” Radwanska said. “That’s why I was still going and, you know, keep fighting till the end.”
When she returned to court she looked out of sorts and despite holding her next service game, Garcia had no trouble winning the set 6-2.
Radwanska said that the heat did not help her breathing problems.
“It’s hard to breathe, hard to run, especially it’s noon, 30 degrees, didn’t really help me today,” she said. But I think it was good enough, and I think I played really well with that conditions.”
Radwanska however regrouped in the final set as it was her opponents turn to tire. Having double faulted five times in the second set, the Pole service improved significantly, and she hit four straight service winners to easily clinch the third set 6-3.
After clinching the match, she said she had spent a week in her home country but was only able to start practicing once she landed in Dubai.
“Well, in Poland actually I took a few days off. I couldn’t do it,” Radwanska said. “I came here a few days ago and was practicing but didn’t really feel that great. I was able to practice and I was hoping that every day is going better and better.”
The Pole also spoke of her close relationship with coach Martina Navratilova, who is not in Dubai.
“She couldn’t be here, but she’s going to be in Indian Wells and Miami for the big ones. We in touch pretty much every day and talking,” said Radwanska. “Of course sometimes it depends on the time zone and stuff, but of course she’s watching. We always analysing everything and talking about the matches.”
Radwanska, like Venus Williams a day earlier, added her voice to the growing list of players who believe the WTA schedule can be more efficient.
“Going to Australia or to China between tournaments in Europe is not really great schedule. So I think what they should maybe do, trying to play in the country that’s going to be easier for everyone,” she said. “I think it shouldn’t be any draw, like it just should be the place that is easier for the other WTA tournaments. I think that’s always going to be much easier for everyone just to stay very close or even the same country.”
Former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic destroyed Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-0, 6-3 to advance to the third round where she will meet the Czech Karolina Pliskova.
The current world No 5 simply blew her opponent off the court in the first set, cruising to a 6-0 lead in less than 30 minutes.
Throughout a match played in 32 C heat, the German had no answer to Ivanovic’s aggressive net play and superb forehand.
The Serb started the second set in similar fashion to take a 2-0 lead, with Lisicki finally getting on the scoreboard in the ninth game of the match. The renaissance proved short lived as Ivanovic won the overcame tow break points to win the next match and lead 3-1, and then 5-1.
Lisicki put up a spirited fightback to win the next two games, saving a match point in the process, but Ivanovic broke her serve again in the ninth game of the match to close out the match.
Elsewhere, last year’s finalist Alize Cornet defeated wild card Cagla Buyukakcay 6-2 6-4, while No 13 seed Carla Suarez-Navarrao overcame Camila Giorgi 6-3 6-4.
There was a defeat for a seed, though, with Jelena Jankoic crashing out to Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-1.
More to follow...
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