DUBAI // Roberta Vinci was eliminated in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday as she struggled to cope with her quick turnaround from the Saint Petersburg Open.
Vinci, who turns 33 on Thursday, clinched her first title of the season in Russia on Sunday, and the lack of recuperation between tournaments was telling.
The Italian world No 13 suffered a first-set whitewash, and despite a second set fightback, eventually lost 6-0, 6-4, 6-3 to Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova, who will face Vinci’s compatriot Sara Errani in the second round on Court 1 Wednesday.
Errani booked her place in the next round with a straight-sets win over Chinese qualifier Saisai Zheng 7-5, 6-3, but it was far from smooth sailing for the world No 22.
Trailing 5-1 in the opening set, Errani sprang to life to break Zheng’s serve three times, reeling off six successive games to edge ahead.
The second set continued the trend of both players struggling to hold serve, although Errani’s three breaks to Zheng’s two handed the Italian victory.
Elsewhere, Elina Svitolina set up a second-round clash with No 2 seed Garbine Muguruza after defeating qualifier Jana Cepelova 6-3, 6-1 in the first match on Centre Court.
Marching into a 5-0 lead, Ukrainian Svitolina, 21, allowed Cepelova back into the contest when she dropped successive service games before breaking the 22-year-old Slovakian to claim the opening set in 26 minutes.
Despite two games less, the second set lasted 15 minutes longer than the opener, in large part to Game 5 that included a remarkable 12 deuce points.
Over on Court 1, the Czech Republic’s Barbora Strykova defeated another qualifier in Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-3, and will play Germany’s Julia Goerges in the second round Wednesday.
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