Marion Bartoli beat Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 in the first round at the Dubai Tennis Championship on Monday, only four days after resuming practice following an injury at the Australian Open.
The Frenchwoman had been out since tearing a calf muscle in a second-round loss on Jan. 19 in Melbourne. She called it the worst injury of her career after being unable to walk for two weeks.
Intense rehabilitation, including some work in the pool, enabled her to return quicker than expected.
Bartoli jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set before the 40-year-old Date-Krumm fought back to force a tiebreaker.
Date-Krumm double-faulted to trail 4-3 in the second set after trading breaks with Bartoli, who broke two games later to clinch the win.
The 16th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-4, 6-2, Chanelle Scheepers swept aside Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-2 and Alisa Kleybanova rallied to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 4-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Shahar Peer of Israel, once denied a visa to play at the Dubai Tennis Championship, teamed up with Monica Niculescu of Romania to win their opening doubles match.
Authorities had cited safety reasons for preventing Peer from playing in 2009, saying they feared angry scenes because of Israel’s three-week military offensive in Gaza. Organizers were fined US$300,000 by the WTA and required to open the event to all qualifying players.
Peer played last year amid tight security, making a surprising run to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Venus Williams. The Israeli was to start her singles campaign yesterday.
AP, MARSEILLE, France
Dmitry Tursunov of Russia rallied to beat Bulgarian teenager Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (8/6), 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) in the first round at the Open 13 on Monday.
Dimitrov served 17 aces and missed two chances to break serve when leading 4-3 in the second set, with Tursunov closing it out in 2 hours, 40 minutes.
Tursunov served 12 aces, but also eight double faults. He will will play either fifth-seeded Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia or Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev.
Sergiy Stakhovsky defeated Illya Marchenko 6-4, 6-3 in an all--Ukrainian match. He will meet either sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Benoit Paire, both of France.
Although Stakhovsky dropped serve twice, he broke Marchenko twice in each set.