Radwanska advances

World number four Agnieszka Radwanska overcame a misfiring serve to beat Kazakh teenager Yulia Putintseva 7-5 6-3 in the second round of the Dubai women’s tennis championships on Wednesday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Fri 22 Feb 2013, 12:24 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:53 AM

Agnieszka Radwanska in action during the match against Yulia Putintseva on Wednesday. — KT photo by Shihab

The Pole, who received a first-round bye, lost three of her first four service games on an overcast centre court and she will need to improve if she is retain her Dubai title, with Petra Kvitova or Ana Ivanovic awaiting her in the next round.

“For me, the first match is always a bit tricky,” Radwanska told reporters. “I didn’t hit on the centre court here this year, and I was just practising outside - it was actually much faster. I was surprised - the ball is just not going anywhere and it was tough for me.”

Errani happy for Pennetta

DUBAI — Italy’s Sara Errani has wished her Fed Cup team-mate Flavia Pennetta well as she bids to return from a six-month injury following surgery on her right wrist.

Pennetta won the first match of her competitive comeback at this week’s Copa Claro Colsanitas in Bogota, Colombia with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Russia’s Alexandra Panova.

“We always keep in touch,” explained Errani, who is the fifth seed at this week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

“She was with us during the Fed Cup week. She didn’t play, but she was there. I’m happy that she’s coming back. First and foremost, she’s a very good person and a very good player.” — Alex Leach

Serving at 3-3, Radwanska saved four break points after falling 0-40 behind, but Putintseva was undeterred and she earned another break point with a forehand winner down the line that fizzed past the advancing Pole. Rattled, the 2012 Wimbledon finalist double-faulted to fall 4-3 behind.

Radwanska, 23, responded by coming to the net more frequently to force Putintseva, ranked 101 in the world, to play on the back foot.

The Kazakh, seeking her third victory over a top-50 player, was found wanting and Radwanska broke for 4-4, with six out of eight games going against serve.

Putintseva, who beat Britain’s Laura Robson in an all-teenage first-round battle, prefers brute force over finesse and although a fast hitter, she consistently played the ball too short, allowing Radwanska to stay in rallies with relative ease.

The Pole was too out of sorts to fully exploit her opponent’s shortcomings but as the overcast sky gave way to a muggy desert sun she also upped the playing temperature on court, earning two set points with a flat forehand winner down the line. She needed only one as a tempestuous Putintseva smashed an attempted winner long.

Radwanska’s greater pedigree - she has 12 tour singles titles to her name, while Putintseva has never made it beyond the second round of a tournament - eventually told, and she won five of the last six games.

“In the very important moments a bit of experience is always good to have,” added Radwanska.

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki routed Chinese qualifier Jie Zheng 6-0 6-1, while Russian veteran Nadia Petrova had a similar romp against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, winning 6-1 6-0.

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