Tuesday inside Dubai’s Aviation Club Tennis Center was all about top seeds kicking off their 2015 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship campaigns and the second-round matches were completed. The four highest seeds all successfully advanced, although some taking longer than others.
First off, we had Agnieszka Radwanska facing Caroline Garcia. Not feeling 100% well, Radwanska lost the second set to the Frenchwoman, but despite looking visibly unwell & uncomfortable in the mid-day heat, the 2012 Dubai champion fought her way into the tournament’s third round.
Another top player that took the long way home was Caroline Wozniacki. The former #1 found a very capable opponent in Australia’s Sam Stosur, who took the first set 4-6, and after a quick 6-1 in Wozniacki’s favor in the second set, the momentum shifted several times in the decider, as the 2011 Dubai champion finally sealed a three-set win.
Wozniacki was followed by yet another former Dubai Duty Free Tennis Champion and just like the Dane, Petra Kvitova enjoyed somewhat of a bumpy start into the 2015 edition of the tournament. Playing the impressive youngster Elina Svitolina, it took Kvitova until the middle of the second set to finally gain control of the match and earn a three-set win over the Ukrainian rising star.
Not all of the top seeds struggled like that, as both Ana Ivanovic & Simona Halep completed their first Dubai match in 2015 in a very swift fashion. Ivanovic dismantled German Sabine Lisicki 6-0 6-3, while Halep had no problems getting past Daniela Hantuchova 6-2 6-0, as the stressful & tiring past week seemed to have finally caught up with the Pattaya champion.
While the top players played on Center Court, Court 1 once again was the site of some dramatic scenes. Andrea Petkovic played her second-round match against Kazakh Zarina Diyas and while the German had already been boiling with frustration early into the match, a controversial call that decided the first set in Diyas’ favor sent Petkovic over the edge. All arguing, screaming & cursing was in vain since the set was gone. Petkovic wasn’t willing just to accept the decision though, throwing her racket around and almost hitting a linesman, as well as calling for the WTA supervisor to complain about the decision. Needless to say, the outcome didn’t change and the Antwerp champion never found her way back into the match, losing the second set in a quick fashion.
Following Petkovic’s fiery display, it was her fellow German who graced Court 1, as Angelique Kerber played Svetlana Kuznetsova. Their match wasn’t as controversial, but rather close, with Kerber edging out a 11-9 lead in the first-set tiebreak. Shortly after, Kuznetsova, who played while suffering from the flu, had to call the trainer and leave the court, feeling unable to continue. After a while, Kuznetsova returned and finished the match, not having enough energy in the tank to challenge Kerber for the second set, though.
Wednesday at the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will be all about the third round and the tournament is quickly gaining momentum heading towards Saturday’s final. Which eight players will be making the quarterfinals? Keep checking back to Women’s Tennis Blog to find out!
Ana played really sharp in her opening match. She sets a 3R clash with Karolina Pliskova, her US Open conqueror last year. Too bad for Dani that she has to play two consecutive days after a long travel from Thailand.
I actually saw the Andrea Petkovic vs Zarina Diyas match. Petko was really disappointed. If it was played in a centre court, there could have been a hawk eye that can challenge the decision. I haven’t seen Petko this mad for a long time. Great photos by the way Jimmie especially for Petko and Ana. You captured it very well especially when Petko threw her racket. Zarina Diyas definitely took advantage of that call and gained a lot of confidence from it.
Great photo of Petkovic in the 14th row, with her hands spreading to the front. You wonderfully captured the whole drama!
Emman Damian, what was the controversial call that Petko was so upset about? Was it a line call called in that she thought was out? Muguruza is still rolling..now she gets to play her doubles partner, Suarez Navarro in the quarters.
Just saw the Safarova-Pliskova match, and Safarova got a terrible call from the umpire. But Lucie is so sweet she didn’t put up so much fuss. The hothead Petko sure would have. Safarova already up a set and 5-5 in the second set tiebreak, with Lucie serving. During the rally Pliskova hits a ball that the linesman called out. Mind you Safarova returned the ball anyway and her ball landed in on Pliskova’s side of the net. Play had been “stopped”, as Pliskova challenged the original out call. Hawkeye proved the ball in, hitting the line. Oddly the clueless umpire awarded the point to Pliskova. Remember, Safarova had returned the ball back in. Lucie mildly protested..(unlike Petko) pleading with the umpire that she returned the ball in. The umpire didn’t budge. It should have been a replay the point! Unbelievable! Pliskova wins the next point on her serve to take the tiebreak 7-6 (7-5). and then blows away Safarova in the third 6-1. I think Safarova was clearly rattled by the umpire’s foolish decision.
Dubai had a lot of controversies this year. But Pliskova is playing very aggressive this year, she might be a surprise Top 10 member and a grand slam contender.
Jim, yeah, the ball that was out was called in. Look at this short YouTube clip, Petko’s reaction is hilarious 😛 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZT9dWgdWzs
Thanks Marija. I also saw the full version where Petko almost decapitates the linesman throwing her racket.