Simona Halep opened her campaign at the 2022 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday with a 6-2, 6-4 win over American wildcard, Alison Riske. The Romanian needed 71 minutes to complete the win. Halep, who’s won the Dubai title twice before, put in 76% of her first serves in and won 79% of her first-serve points.
On the other hand, Riske put in 67% of her first serves, winning 73% of her first-serve points. However, the difference between the players came down to the second-serve points each won. While Halep won 66% of her second-serve points, Riske could manage to win only 22%.
The American hit four double faults while her opponent had none. Halep saved both break points she faced while making good of three of the 11 break points on Riske’s serve. In the second round, the former world no. 1 will face either third seed Paula Badosa or fellow Romanian in the qualifier, Elena-Gabriela Ruse.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Czechs have a field day
Another past titlist in Dubai, Petra Kvitova booked her place in the round-of-16. The Czech, who won the title here in 2013, needed just 68 minutes to post a 6-2, 6-0 win over Camila Giorgi.
Kvitova saved all four break points she faced while converting five of the seven break points that came her way on the Italian’s serve. Next up for the southpaw is either top seed Aryna Sabalenka or Ukrainian qualifier, Marta Kostyuk.
Earlier, sixth seed Iga Swiatek was the first to get the 2022 edition of the event underway. The Pole defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 6-2 in 65 minutes to reach the second round. She’ll play either Sofia Kenin or Jelena Ostapenko for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, in the American derby, Jessica Pegula got the better of Coco Gauff. The 2022 Australian Open quarter-finalist won 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 30 minutes. Either wildcard Vera Zvonareva or eighth seed Ons Jabeur will be Pegula’s next opponent.
In the only lone match of the bottom half of the draw, second seed Barbora Krejcikova advanced into the round-of-16. The Czech, who’s the defending finalist at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, beat Caroline Garcia, 6-4, 7-6(0) in an hour and 38 minutes.
Krejcikova will play either Irina-Camelia Begu or qualifier, Dayana Yastremska next. Photo Credit: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships