WTA Dubai: Bouchard, Muguruza, Mladenovic, Kasatkina and Bencic reach R2

Tennis - Saisai Zheng defeated Ajla Tomljanovic while Ivana Jorovic ousted Sara Errani

by Jovica Ilic
WTA Dubai: Bouchard, Muguruza, Mladenovic, Kasatkina and Bencic reach R2

Kristina Mladenovic had an easy day in the office at the start of Dubai, defeating Fatma Al Nabhani 6-1, 6-1 in an hour and 11 minutes. There were 17 double faults in total although the French player had a clear advantage on the court, losing serve twice and winning more than 60% of the return points for seven breaks from 13 opportunities she created.

Al Nabhani never found the rhythm on serve, landing less than 50% of the first serve in and avoiding a complete disaster only with those two breaks she earned. Playing against each other for the third time, the 12th seed Garbine Muguruza took down the young Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, overcoming a slow start to topple a teenager for the first time.

The match was dotted with errors and there were 26 break points up for grabs (18 double faults as well), with eight breaks for the Spaniard and six for the Ukrainian. The encounter kicked off with six breaks in the opening seven games and it was Dayana who secured another break in game ten to grab the set 6-4.

Garbine continued to push hard on the return in set number two, stealing Dayana's serve three times and prevailing with a double break in the decider. Yastremska gave her best to prolong the clash, saving the first six games before falling on the seventh to send Muguruza over the finish line.

Eugenie Bouchard also made the winning start, defeating Vera Lapko 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 21 minutes, playing better on the second serve and easily erasing three breaks she suffered with a dominant display on the return.

Lapko gave away more than 50% of the points behind the initial shot, losing serve three times in both sets to hit the exit door and propel Eugenie into the second round. Belinda Bencic needed an hour and 40 minutes to dismiss a qualifier Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 7-6, controlling the pace in the opener and saving a set point at 5-6 in the tie break to prevail in straight sets.

The struggling Russian Daria Kasatkina edged a qualifier Magdalena Frech 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 15 minutes, winning just four points more than the Pole in the encounter with no less than 30 break points! Magdalena broke the 11th seed six times although it wasn't enough to cross the finish line first, leading 4-2 before Daria claimed the last four games to avoid an early exit and grab at least one win and some points.

Saisai Zheng Ajla Tomljanovic Sara Errani