February 16, 2009 / 6:53 PM / 10 years ago

Tennis-Kuznetsova slumps to early Dubai defeat

DUBAI, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Svetlana Kuznetsova was dumped out of the Dubai Championships on Monday but Ana Ivanovic avenged her Australian Open defeat by beating Alisa Kleybanova 7-5 6-4.

A year after reaching the final in Dubai, Kuznetsova’s challenge ended in the second round when she fell 6-4 3-6 6-0 to fellow Russian Elena Vesnina.

Kuznetsova failed to find any rhythm except for a short spell in the second set and in the final set qualifier Vesnina had to do little more than wait for the seventh seed to make an error.

“She played a basic game and I lost myself,” Kuznetsova told reporters. “All the time unforced errors and I didn’t feel anything on the court. I was so frustrated. I just wasn’t there. It was horrible. I was not in control of my game at all.”

Ivanovic had lost to Kleybanova in the third round in Melbourne and she was again kept under considerable pressure, especially in the second set.

Having built and lost a 4-1 lead in the opening set, the eighth-seeded Serbian broke to love to claim the set.

The former world number one had to save numerous break points against her in the second set before breaking again in the final game to seal the match.


“I’m very happy with my game overall. I’ve been very aggressive and serving very well, so I’m very pleased with that,” said Ivanovic, who fired 13 aces.

“I just feel confident going on the court and I’ll build on this.”

In first round matches, 11th seeded Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli saved three match points before edging past Japan’s Ai Sugiyama 6-0 4-6 7-6.

Ayumi Morita capitalised on her last-minute entry into the draw by heaping more misery on 15th seed Anna Chakvetadze.

The Russian, who has won just three matches in total in her last eight tournaments stretching back to last August, was beaten 7-5 6-2.

Japan’s Morita was granted a place in the draw because Israel’s Shahar Peer was forced to withdraw after she was denied a visa to enter the country.

Ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska was defeated 6-4 6-3 by her 121st ranked younger sister Urszula in their first meeting on the WTA Tour. But there was a reason for the upset.

“It was tough to play my sister but she’s sick after coming from Paris,” said Urszula of Poland.

Organisers said former champion Amelie Mauresmo, who won the Paris Open on Sunday, pulled out of the tournament.

Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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