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    Garbine Muguruza begins title-defense bid


    Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Garbine Muguruza begins title-defense bid

    The defending champion at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Garbine Muguruza advanced to the second round on Tuesday. The Spanish fourth seed, however, faced a tough battle against Czech qualifier, Katerina Siniakova and needed two hours and 24 minutes to win 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-2.

    Siniakova was better when it came to winning points off first serves – 67% to Muguruza’s 63%. But the former world no. 1 won more points off her second serves that helped her survive the clash – 53% to Siniakova’s 33%.

    Muguruza will play Veronika Kudermetova next. The Russian defeated former finalist, Victoria Azarenka in their first-round clash, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 28 minutes. Another Spaniard, the third-seeded Paula Badosa wasn’t able to survive her first-round clash against Romanian qualifier, Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

    Ruse upset Badosa 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in two hours and 32 minutes. Badosa won 66% of her first-serve points to Ruse’s 65%. But where Ruse won 56% of her second-serve points, Badosa could only win 48% off her second serves. For a place in the quarter-finals, Ruse will now take on Simona Halep in a Romanian derby.

    Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Aryna Sabalenka secures a win

    Ruse’s compatriot and semi-finalist in St. Petersburg, Irina-Camelia Begu, meanwhile, crashed out in the first round. Dayana Yastremska came from a set down to take out Begu, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 59 minutes.

    Yastremska will play second seed Barbora Krejcikova in the second round. In her first-round match, top seed Aryna Sabalenka in defeating Yastremska’s fellow Ukrainian, Marta Kostyuk. The Belarusian won 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 15 minutes, breaking Kostyuk seven times.

    Petra Kvitova’s Sabalenka’s next opponent. Eighth seed Ons Jabeur also came through a three-setter in her opening round to reach the pre-quarter-finals. The Tunisian defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in two hours and six minutes.

    She’ll play Jessica Pegula next. Elina Svitolina and Jil Teichmann will play each other for a place in the quarter-finals. The Ukrainian, seeded 10th in the draw, came through against Egyptian wildcard, Mayar Sherif, 6-2, 6-3.

    The Swiss ousted Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-4 in her first-round match. Jelena Ostapenko also reached the second round with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Sofia Kenin. The Latvian will play Iga Swiatek for a spot in the quarters. Earlier, Marketa Vondrousova also moved into the round-of-16 after her first-round opponent, ninth seed Danielle Collins retired mid-match with an illness.

    The American was leading 6-2 in the first set but was down 0-3 in the second set when she decided not to continue in the match. For a place in the pre-quarters of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the Czech will play Russian Varvara Gracheva.

    Gracheva won against Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1, 7-5 in their first-round clash. Photo Credit: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

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