Pliskova, Kerber make early exits at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Caroline Garcia rallied from the brink of defeat to upset Germany’s Kerber 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. — WTA
Caroline Garcia rallied from the brink of defeat to upset Germany’s Kerber 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. — WTA

Dubai - Jabeur was untroubled by her opponent as she won the match 6-2 6-3 to reach the second round



By Team KT

Published: Mon 8 Mar 2021, 6:38 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Mar 2021, 9:40 PM

Second seeded Kristyna Pliskova and No. 16 Angelique Kerber suffered shocking defeats at the hands of Tereza Martinkova and Caroline Garcia respectively as seeded players Elena Rybakina, Marketa Vondrousova and Madison Keys entered the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday.

Czech Republic’s Tereza Martinkova stunned her higher-ranked countrymate Kristyna Pliskova 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 in the first round matches while France’s Garcia rallied from 1-4 down in the final set to upset Germany’s Kerber 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Meanwhile, former Grand Slam finalists Madison Keys and Marketa Vondrousova both had easy outings against qualifiers. Vondrousova needed one hour and 33 minutes to oust Ana Bogdan 6-4, 6-4. Vondrousova will next face 16-year-old wildcard Coco Gauff.

Keys saw off Liang En-Shuo 6-1, 6-1 in 64 minutes. Meanwhile, wildcard Anastasia Potapova eased past Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-2.

Misaki Doi pulled off a sensational 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory against Polona Hercog. The Japanese has shown great improvement as she made the most of her opportunity to win a match in the main draw.

Earlier, Elena Rybakina dispatched Saisai Zheng 6-0, 6-4 en route to the second round.

“Elena Rybakina’s performances during last year’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships were outstanding,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.

“It was interesting to see such a talented new face competing so well against such formidable opposition, and we welcome her back and wish her well.”

“Overall, I thought I played not a bad match,” said Rybakina.

“I’m happy to come here again. It’s a pity there are no crowds here like before, but I’ll try to do my best this week,” said Rybakina.

Earlier, Ons Jabeur made a winning start with an easy 6-2 6-3 victory over Katerina Siniakova. She was joined in the second round by emerging star Coco Gauff, who defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6(3) 2-6 7-6(8) in a close contest.

Jabeur was untroubled by her opponent as she won the match 6-2 6-3 to reach the second round for the fourth time in her four main-draw showings at the event.

Ons Jabeur said, “I’m happy with the win. I’m playing good. I like the conditions here, so hopefully will continue this way. To be honest, I felt that (expectations) more last week in Doha, and honestly, no one put any pressure (on me). I just put pressure on myself because I want to win so bad. I am trying to take it like easy, whatever happens. Honestly I’m just trying to take it one day at a time.”

“There were times when we both could have thrown in the towel and gave up, but we both were mentally fighting,” Gauff said. “I think it’s just one of those that you’re happy that it’s over, and happy that you fought through it.”

“That’d be a pretty good birthday gift, to make it to the final,” she said.

Svetlana Kuznetsova had a 6-4, 1-6, 6-5 win over Wang Qiang and advanced to the second round.

On International Women’s Day, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships honoured the achievements of sporting women legends and rising stars who have made their mark in accelerating equality for all.

The legend Billie Jean King said: “Through tennis, we not only have an opportunity, but also a responsibility to drive positive change in our sport and society.”

liaqat@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Tennis