Day one at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship saw former French Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza overcome Dayana Yastremska 4-6 6-3 6-3 and Daria Kasatkina was pushed all the way by qualifier Magdalena Frech before emerging from their two hour 16 minute battle with a welcome 6-3 3-6 6-4 victory.
Former French Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza needed more than two hours and seven match points to overcome Dayana Yastremska 4-6 6-3 6-3 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Sunday.
Muguruza, twice a semi-finalist in Dubai, would not have welcomed the draw, as she lost to Yastremska in straight sets both in Luxembourg at the end of last season and more recently at Hua Hin. Her young opponent, the only teenager ranked in the top 50, fearlessly went for her shots and only a lack of consistency prevented her claiming yet another victory over her more experienced opponent.
Another who flirted with defeat was 2018 finalist Daria Kasatkina. She has endured a wretched start to the 2019 season, earning just one victory in four tournaments, and she was pushed all the way by qualifier Magdalena Frech before emerging from their two hour 16 minute battle with a welcome 6-3 3-6 6-4 victory.
Tenth seed Anastasija Sevastova was the only seed to fall on day one as she fell 6-4 6-2 to Su-Wei Hsieh, but former champion Sara Errani was defeated 4-6 6-4 6-2 by qualifier Ivana Jorovic. Former top 10 star Ekaterina Makarova slumped to a 0-6 7-5 6-4 defeat at the hands of Aliaksandra Sasnovich after leading by a set and 4-1 and by 2-0 in the deciding set.
“We have seen some fantastic competition on the opening day, with even a double Grand Slam champion struggling to reach the second round,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. ”That clearly demonstrates the depth of talent competing in Dubai this week, and that even the most successful players will have to be at their very best if they are to progress.”
The WTA event continues until 23rd February and features nine of the world’s top 10, including world No. 1, Australian Open and US Open champion Naomi Osaka, 2019 Sydney champion and Australian Open runner-up Petra Kvitova, two-time Dubai champion Elina Svitolina, 2019 Brisbane winner and Australian Open semi-finalist Karolina Pliskova, and 2018 Grand Slam winners Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber.
The sensational week of women’s tennis will be followed by an equally thrilling men’s event headed by seven-time champion Roger Federer, Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, defending champion and recent Doha winner Roberto Bautista Agut, former US Open winner Marin Cilic, Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori and two-time finalist Tomas Berdych.