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.
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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.