21 February, 2017

Wozniacki Makes A Winning Start At Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Former champion Caroline Wozniacki made a winning start at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships by claiming a 6-2 7-5 victory over teenager Daria Kasatkina. Although Wozniacki is on a hot streak after beating sixth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska on her way to the Doha final, she was wary of an opponent who pulled off a victory over world number two Angelique Kerber at the same event.


"Well, obviously seeing the draw, it's like, well, could have had an easier first round," said Wozniacki, who won the title in 2011 and has reached the semi-finals on her last four visits. "She's a good young player. She mixes up the pace a lot. She kind of tries to bring you out of your rhythm and she has great hands. I was really pleased with how I was able to just stay focused out there from the beginning. I didn't really know how I was going to play to start off with. Generally, I was pleased with my game." 

Dubai is one of Wozniacki's most successful tournaments and the reason for that, she says, is that the conditions suit her game very well. 

"I think because the ball is flying a little bit. And the court is faster. I feel I can generate a lot of pace. I get to a lot of balls too, which I think is frustrating for the other players that I can kind of go from defence to offence and really hurt them with that when they play a short ball. I know I can run a lot of balls down. Regardless, I know the opponent doesn't just get the match from me. She will have to fight. That definitely helps me, knowing I have good wheels." 

In other matches, Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig overcame a sore back as well as her opponent to beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 4-6 6-4, which left Shvedova still seeking her first win of 2017. Puig left the court after the second set and then received treatment throughout the third, but managed to edge through against an opponent who had won both of their previous WTA main draw meetings. 

"It's just some lower back soreness," Puig explained. "I came from Doha two days ago, so the balls are a bit different. The court is definitely much different than in Doha. It's just something that I have to go and get treatment with, but it's really no big deal." 

Eleventh seed CoCo Vandeweghe was beaten 6-4 6-4 by Alison Riske, and 13th seed Kiki Bertens was also upset, losing 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-4 to Christine McHale. Peng Shuai took full advantage of her wild card, overwhelming Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1 in just 55 minutes, and Elise Mertens became the third qualifier to reach the second round when she defeated Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3 6-2. 

"Caroline Wozniacki has made a very successful return from injury that troubled her for a lengthy period during the middle of last year, and we are delighted to see her playing so well again," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organisers. "She showed great skill in overcoming one of the most promising teenagers on the WTA Tour, and despite Daria Kasatkina's defeat against a former world number one it is clear that she has a very bright future ahead of her. We wish her well." 

The top eight seeds received first round byes and will be in action from Tuesday. They include US Open champion and world number two Angelique Kerber, 2017 Brisbane and Doha champion Karolina Pliskova, WTA Finals winner Dominika Cibulkova, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, and former Dubai winner Agnieszka Radwanska. 

"There are so many top players competing on Tuesday that not all can be scheduled on Centre Court," said tournament director Salah Tahlak. "That means spectators will be able to see stars such as Caroline Wozniacki, Olympic gold medal winner Monica Puig and Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur free of charge on the outside courts. As an added bonus, they will also be able to catch one of the greatest players of all time, Martina Hingis, in doubles action." 

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Tickets are still available from the Box Office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud which opens from 9am to 9pm daily. Tickets are also available online through further information about tickets, prices and the tournament visit


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