Garbine Muguruza opened her Dubai title defense with a tricky 7-6(5) 2-6 6-2 victory over qualifier Katerina Siniakova in the first round.
In last year’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final, Muguruza outlasted Barbora Krejcikova, Siniakova’s doubles partner and compatriot. With today’s victory, the seventh-ranked Muguruza leveled her head-to-head record with the doubles world No.1 Siniakova at 2-2.
Czech Siniakova, ranked No.45 in singles, held a set point at 5-3 in the first set, but a double fault handed Muguruza an opportunity to stay alive and the Spaniard managed to level by converting her seventh break point in a thrilling game as her opponent double-faulted again.
After Murugurza won the closely-contested first-set tiebreak, Siniakova re-established her position and confidently won the second set without dropping serve.
While Muguruza’s rate of break points saved was 0% in the first two sets, it dramatically improved to 100% in the decider and the defending champion won the last four games of the match to overcome her first hurdle at the 2022 WTA 500 edition of this high-profile tournament in the Middle East.
In the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Muguruza will face Veronika Kudermetova, as the Russian defeated Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-4 earlier on Tuesday.