Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina crashed out in Dubai Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The top seed at this year’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Elina Svitolina, was sent packing in the second round in Garhoud by Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The silence in the fan-free ground matched the stunned Ukranian’s exit after she slumped to a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Russian world No. 36.

Svitolina looked to be in good shape as she breezed through the opening set, but Kuznetsova upped her game and the world No. 5 had no answer as she crumbled in the decider.

Earlier this week, two-time Dubai champion Svitolina admitted the drop in WTA prize money due to the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced her motivation but added that players must learn to adjust their expectations.

On a day of three-setters, Arab No. 1 Ons Jabeur from Tunisia defeated 14th seed Elena Rybakina 7-6, 4-6, 6-2.

There was misfortune for Petro Kvitova as she retired injured to hand Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann a walkover. The Swiss will face Jabeur in the next round.

There was better news for ninth seed Garbine Muguruza, as she eased through 6-4, 6-2 over Amanda Anisimova of the United States. With some major seeds dropping, the draw is really opening up for Spaniard Muguruza — the 2017 Wimbledon champion — and the likes of reigning French Open champ Iga Swiatek, who defeated Misaki Doi of Japan 6-2, 6-4.

There will be an intriguing battle between the Spaniard and Pole in the round of 16.