Dubai: Two seeds fell along with Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder as former Dubai Women’s Open Champion Sara Errani advanced on the second day of the 20th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa on Tuesday.
Winner of the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open, Errani was relieved to get past a tough first round as top seed Timea Babos, sixth seed Jana Cepelova and Schnyder succumbed on the second day of the competition.
Errani, who has nine career singles titles along with the Dubai Open as her biggest achievement, took her time before packing off Romania’s Alexandra Cadantu 6-2, 6-1 in an hour and 29 minutes on Court 1. “This was not as easy as it looks,” Errani told Gulf News.
“She’s tough and she was just hanging in there. The match was pretty intense and I am glad to be back here with another win,” the former world number 5 added.
Errani witnessed an unexpected resistance from her Romanian opponent, especially in the early stages of the opening set. After an early exchange of breaks, Errani broke in the fourth game and then served out the set 6-2. “She played tough and strong from the baseline, so I was eager to see how much I could mix my game and keep her moving around,” Errani said.
Cadantu started well in the second set while breaking Errani in the first game to lead for the first time, but the 30-year-old broke back and held to go clear 2-1 and then won the next four games to wrap up the set and match in less than an hour and a half. “My focus was just to play the best I can. It has been a good start and I hope to continue in this way as I go on. The basic idea will be to take one match at a time,” she said.
Up against a comparatively unheralded opponent, Babos caved in 7-5, 6-2 against Russia’s Polina Monova, while sixth seed Cepelova went down to qualifiers Fanni Stollar 6-4, 6-3. Fifth seed Belinda Bencic had no such early tournament blues as she got past last year’s finalist Vitalia Diatchenko 6-4, 6-4, while Dalila Jakupovic became the second qualifier to advance after winning 6-2, 6-2 against wild card Cornelia Lister of Sweden.
Former world No. 7 Patty Schnyder was another top name to exit for the second time in the opening round when she folded up 7-6 (6), 6-1 to Poland’s Magdalena Frech, while Ajla Tomljanovic took just 42 minutes while disposing off French qualifier Fiona Ferro 6-0, 6-0.
(Singles) Polina Monova bt Timea Babos 7-5, 6-2; Sara Errani bt Alexandra Cadantu 6-2, 6-1; Dalma Galfi bt Michaella Krajicek 6-0, 6-3; Dalila Jakupovic bt Cornelia Lister 6-2, 6-2; Fanni Stollar bt Jana Cepelova 6-4, 6-3; Valentyna Ivakhnenko bt Ivana Jorovic 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-4; Belinda Bencic bt Vitalia Diatchenko 6-4, 6-4; Kateryna Kozlova bt Sabina Sharipova 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (2); Viktoriya Tomova bt Lesley Kerkhove 3-6, 6-2, 6-4; Ajla Tomljanovic bt Fiona Ferro 6-0, 6-0; Magdalena Frech bt Patty Schnyder 7-6 (6), 6-1.