Dubai: Fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Daniela Hantuchova staged identical late recoveries to enter the second round on the second day of the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open here Tuesday.
Radwanska clawed her way back from 3-5 down in the deciding third set to help herself to a 6-1, 6-7 (8), 7-5 win against qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, while Hantuchova maintained her poise to fight back for a 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4) win over lucky loser Polona Hercog.
“So, the first match is always the tricky one, so I'm just very happy that I could come back in this third set and win this match” Tweet this
Radwanska, a semi-finalist in Doha last week, was the faster one to adapt to hot and windy centre court conditions as she rattled off the first five games to go 5-0 clear and then serve out for the set 6-1 in just 27 minutes.
The second set was more evenly matched as the qualifier from Canada hung in and even started dominating her higher-ranked opponent till she took the initiative with a break in the sixth only to see Radwanska break back and hold for 4-4.
By the eleventh, Radwanska broke Wozniak a second time, but the Canadian with a one-time career best ranking of No.21, broke back to push the set into a tie-break that she went on to win 8-6. In the decider, Wozniak was on top of her game again with a break in the fifth for a comfortable 5-3 lead. But that is when Radwanska used all her experience to turn things around and come up with a break herself to serve out for set and match 7-5 for a second round meeting against Shahar Peer.
"She started to play much better in the second set. The first match is always the toughest as its different conditions, different courts and different balls. Actually, the surface here is a little bit faster than in Doha. So, the first match is always the tricky one, so I'm just very happy that I could come back in this third set and win this match," Radwanska said.
Later, Hantuchova took her time to settle in and eventually escaped with a win in three sets to face either Doha semi-finalist Marion Bartoli or China's Shuai Peng in today's second round.
Qualifier Simona Halep eased her way past the fancied Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova — the last of three Russians in the main draw.
(Singles) Agnieszka Radwanska bt Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-7 (8), 7-5; Iveta Benesova bt Dominika Cibulkova 3-1 (retd.); Lucie Safarova bt Petra Martic 6-3, 5-7, 6-3; Daniela Hantuchova bt Polona Hercog 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4); Simona Halep bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-2.
(Doubles) Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez/Shahar Peer bt Casey Dellacqua/Samantha Stosur 6-7, 6-1, 1-0; Nuria Llagostera Vives/Anastasia Rodionova bt Natalie Grandin/Vladimira Uhlirova 1-6, 6-1, 1-0; Sania Mirza/Elena Vesnina bt Fatma Al Nabhani/Andreja Klepac 6-1, 6-3; Anabel Medina Garrigues/Alicja Rosolska bt Maria Kirilenko/Sabine Lisicki (Retd.)
Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond bt Julia Goerges/Jie Zheng 3-6, 6-4, 1-0; Iveta Benesova/Barbora Zahlavova Stryycova bt Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Alla Kudryavtseva 6-1, 6-2.