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Bartoli, Schiavone advance at Dubai

Tennis lovers on the Valentine’s Day could not have asked for a better start.

By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 15 Feb 2010, 9:33 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:53 AM

The Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships began on Sunday and it smelt like a rose for the seeded players.

Marion Bartoli, world number 13 and the 2007 Wimbledon runner up, was in great form as she demolished Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 6-0 on Centre Court.

Crowd favourite Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, too, took her first steps with ease and never faced any trouble during her straight set victory in first round.

The world number 27 was just too good for Vesna Manasieva of Russia as she comfortably won her match 6-4 6-4.

Rising German star Sabine Lisicki too was in the mood as she came up with a clinical performance during her 6-1 6-4 victory over Yung-Jan Chan of Taipei on the Centre Court.

Lisicki, the world number 25 who trains at the Nick Bolletteiri Tennis Academy, will now have to produce something special in her next match. Her second round opponent is none other than defending champion and seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams.

Similarly, Hantuchova too has a tough match in the next round as she faces world number 5 and Olympic champion Elena Dementieva of Russia.

While Hantuchova and Lisicki enjoyed their easy first round victories, Russian glamour girl Maria Kirilenko, who reached the quarter-finals in the Australian Open in January, went down without a fight.

Kirilenko may have stunned her good friend Maria Sharapova in the first round in Melbourne, but here in Dubai, she was simply no match for her compatriot Regina Kulikova who won 6-3 6-0 on Court One.

It certainly wasn’t a day to remember for Kirilenko, but for veteran Italian Francesca Schiavone the day certainly was one that brought a smile to her face.

“It was a very good match for me. The standard, especially in the first set, was really high,” Schiavone, the world number 18, said after her 6-2 7-5 win over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea on Centre Court.

“I think I played really well in the first set. But the second set wasn’t so easy you know. She played better and I had to work harder for my points. She is a very tough player. But she did give me chances in the second set as well. Unfortunately I couldn’t take those. That happens. You can’t keep the same standard of play all the time against tough players.”

Schiavone will now play the winner of the match between Iveta Benesova (world number 43) of the Czech Republic and Olga Govortsova of Belarus.

“It’s going to be a tough match. Both of them are good players. I just want to keep moving. Winning the first match was very important since I have just come back from an indoor tournament. It always takes time to adjust when you come from an indoor tournament to an outdoor tournament. But I am happy with the way I started.”

Schiavone, it seemed, had no problem in playing the first match under the Dubai sun. “The weather was fantastic. I liked playing here. Especially because I come from a country where its rains and snows a lot during this time of the year, so I liked the conditions here.”

In the day’s other matches on Court One, Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenfeld defeated Alisa Kleybanova of Russia 1-6 7-5 6-2 in a thrilling three-setter, while Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia outplayed Slovania’s Katarina Srebotink 6-2 6-1.

On Court Three, Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko thrashed Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3 6-1, Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova overcame Vera Dushevina of Russia 6-2 5-7 7-5 and Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens outplayed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-3 6-4.


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