Top seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Sania Mirza crashed out of the second round of the doubles at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships yesterday, a day after Thailand Open champions Chan Yung-jan and Chan Hao-ching were brought crashing down to earth following a first-round exit.
The new partnership between world No. 6 Hsieh and world No. 5 Mirza has yet to bear fruit this season and once again they exited a tournament early, falling to 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 defeat to Russian duo Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in their first match in Dubai after receiving a bye in the first round.
The Taiwanese-Indian pairing saved seven of 11 break-point opportunities and converted four of eight, but it was not enough as they crashed out of the tournament in 1 hour, 27 minutes, despite taking the match to a super tiebreak following a second-set fightback.
On Tuesday, the Chan sisters, playing their first match since claiming the doubles title in Pattaya, crashed to a 6-4, 2-6, 13-11 loss to Marina Erakovic of New Zealand and Heather Watson of Britain in the first round.
The Taiwanese duo exited despite winning 66 points to their opponents’ 56 in a match lasting 1 hour, 25 minutes.
In the singles on Tuesday, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki both escaped from trouble when it seemed they might also be on their way out of the tournament.
Kvitova was four times within a point of going a break down in the second set, having lost the first to an opponent who had beaten her six months previously, Elina Svitolina.
Wozniacki was twice within a point of being taken to a final set tiebreak, before emerging victorious against Samantha Stosur, the former US Open champion.
Both Kvitova and Wozniacki have won the title in Dubai and are especially motivated to do so again, as the tournament has been upgraded to a Premier 5 event with US$2,500,000 prize money.
However, Kvitova sometimes lacked focus and produced her brilliant best only fitfully in her 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Svitolina, a rising 20-year-old Ukrainian who looks bound for the top 20.
Wozniacki, who was struggling with a knee injury and a virus, frittered away a 5-2 final-set lead, and needed 2 hours, 45 minutes before prevailing against Stosur, the Australian whose best days may be behind her.
“It kind of felt like I had already won the match, so I was like, you know, just, you know, go with the flow, but all of a sudden there was no flow and I had to fight back,” said Wozniacki, who needed three tries before she could close out the match on her serve. “I would have been pretty pissed if I wouldn’t have won it the third time, but they do say third time lucky, right? I was hoping for that.”
The Dane responded well to a disappointing start, taking the ball earlier, coming to the net more and producing the ground strokes which have been largely responsible for her recent resurgence.
But by the end her fire had dwindled and she was mostly just hanging on.
“I think she [Stosur] definitely stepped it up a little bit and I couldn’t get a first serve in — and now I don’t have a voice either,” Wozniacki said. “I guess I just need some rest and lots of fluids, and Tylenol and Advil, and whatever else there is.”
Kvitova gave a pretty blunt reaction to her first-set performance.
“I’m not sure where I was in the first set. I don’t think I was on the court,” she said.
That quickly cost her the set.
It might have done much to cost her the match too, had she not saved four break points in the second game of the second set.
She did that by striking some fierce flat backhands, before beginning to score better with the many varieties of angle, pace and direction she possesses on the forehand.
“I think I was too hectic,” Kvitova said. “I really wanted to play aggressively and I made a lot of mistakes. Very easy balls I just give it for free. On the other hand, I didn’t want to play just small rallies with nothing, no power or something like that.”
Kvitova was due to play Carla Suarez Navarro, the Spanish world No. 13, while Wozniacki’s performance would depend a great deal on her physical recovery as she was due to take on last year’s runner-up Alize Cornet, the 15th seed from France.
Earlier on Tuesday, three seeds were beaten — Jelena Jankovic, the former world No. 1 from Serbia, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic and Peng Shuai, the 16th-seeded Chinese player.
Another seed, Lucie Safarova, the No. 11 from the Czech Republic, was three times within two points of a straight sets defeat during her 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 victory over Casey Dellacqua, the wild card from Australia.
Safarova’s reward was a match against titleholder Venus Williams.
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