CoCo Vandeweghe upset 2015 finalist Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (5) 6-1 and Julia Goerges claimed a stunning 6-0 6-1 victory over three-time finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday to reach the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Vandeweghe also upset Pliskova in their most recent meeting in the second round at Wimbledon last year, and after a closely-contested opening set earned an early break in the second to set herself on the path to another victory.
“I went out there not banking on because I won at Wimbledon that I'm going to win today,” said Vandeweghe, who earned her first win of the year after recovering from an injury that hampered her preparation for 2016.
“When someone is serving as well and playing as well off of their serve you have to really focus on taking care of your service games.
“That was my main focus. And then in the tiebreaker, I mean, every point matters. So when I had my opportunity, I was going to take it. Then the second set, getting that early break was really key.”
Pliskova said she didn’t have time to get into rallies on what is a very fast surface.
“It's tough to play against her,” she said. “Obviously my game is a little bit better from the baseline, but there was no chance to show it because there was no rallies. So it was just tough.”
Kuznetsova suffered her heaviest defeat in her 13 appearances at the tournament as Goerges, who also beat Kuznetsova on her way to the 2012 Dubai final, won the first nine games with an aggressive display that gave her opponent no time to settle into the match.
“Well, I would say it was, yeah, a very solid performance but at the same time being aggressive and didn't make that many mistakes,” said Goerges.
“I just didn't give her any chance to get into the match and get into her rhythm, because if she has time she creates good balls and deep balls, and that's what I tried to take away from her. That worked pretty well today.”
Madison Brengle enjoyed a successful Dubai debut when she recovered from 1-4 in the second set to defeat former top 10 star Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 7-5 and set up a second round clash with fourth seed and former Dubai champion Petra Kvitova.
In other matches, Andrea Petkovic beat Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-1, Kristina Mladenovic defeated Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 7-6 and Caroline Garcia overcame Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-4 6-1.
The qualifying competition saw Yaroslava Shvedova battle her way into the main draw by edging past Denisa Allertova 6-4 4-6 7-6.
Tsvetana Pironkova also advanced into the main draw in another tense encounter by overcoming Anna-Lena Friedsam 5-7 7-5 6-3, Saisai Zheng beat Varvara Lepchenko 7-5 6-1 and Jana Cepelova defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4 1-6 6-3.
“The four players who have reached the main draw had to fight very hard to do so, with several matches lasting well over two hours,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.