The final match of the day on Monday’s order of play in Dubai produced the biggest upset by seeding as Alison Riske maintained her excellent start to the year with a 6-4 6-4 victory over the number 11 seed, CoCo Vandeweghe.
There’s no sugar coating this match which was an absolute shocker. Vandeweghe was in a foul mood from the first few games and her attitude was appalling. She yelled at ball kids, swore at her coach on one of the changeovers (and I think was complaining about Riske’s slow play?), took a bathroom break midway through the second set and was just generally petulant and unpleasant.
Credit to Riske for just about maintaining her focus. Vandeweghe threatened to get back into the match with a couple of break backs in the middle of the second set but Riske kept balls in play and deep, and Vandeweghe kept delivering up the errors. Riske will play Anastasija Sevastova in the second round.
CiCi Bellis scored the third top 30 win of her career, beating the number 17 seed, Yulia Putintseva, 6-1 7-5. After a quick first set, Bellis made an extraordinary comeback in the second set from 1-5 down and saved three set points to reel off six straight games.
All three seeds that fell on day 2 were beaten by American players – in the final match of the day on Court 1, Christina McHale beat Kiki Bertens, 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 in two hours and 33 minutes. McHale saved five break points in the decider before breaking Bertens’s serve at 4-4 and serving out the match at the first time of asking. Kiki was pretty mad at the end…
Keep going, Kiki!
McHale advances to the second round where she will play Naomi Osaka. They’ve played each other once before but Osaka was forced to retire after one set in Birmingham last year.
In the most anticipated match of the day, Caroline Wozniacki kept the wins on coming with a 6-2 7-5 victory over Daria Kasatkina. Dasha did produce one awesome jumping backhand winner (see below) but Woz was in rock solid mode as she won through to the second round where she will play Viktorija Golubic.
In other first round matches from Dubai…
Peng Shuai needed just 55 minutes (!) to stroll past Lesia Tsurenko, 6-1 6-1… I did not expect this scoreline.
In another episode of “I did not expect that scoreline”, Ana Konjuh defeated Zhang Shuai, 6-0 6-1 in 49 (!) minutes. Konjuh even served for the double bagel.
Monica Puig condemned Yaroslava Shvedova to a sixth consecutive loss, edging a tight three setter, 6-3 4-6 6-4 in two hours and nine minutes. Puig, who had a medical time-out for soreness in her back, next plays Caroline Garcia which promises to be a flashy affair.
In a third set that contained eight breaks of serve in nine games, Misaki Doi secured the lucrative hold to eventually see off Madison Brengle, 6-2 6-7(4) 6-3.
Kateryna Bondarenko won her first match since Sydney, winning the last five games against 18-year-old qualifier, Aryna Sabalenka, 4-6 6-4 6-3.
Elise Mertens enjoyed a straightforward first round win over Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-3 6-2. Next up is Agnieszka Radwanska.
Lauren Davis came from a set down to win her 11th match of the year against Mandy Minella, 2-6 6-2 6-1.
Despite going into their match with a 0-2 head-to-head record, Mladenovic continued her recent good form to beat Katerina Siniakova, 6-3 6-3. I loved the rally linked below.
Thoughtful words from Monica in press about social media. I was nodding along to everything she said. This is how I am beginning to feel about Twitter.
All 16 second round matches in Dubai are up on Tuesday’s schedule.
Here’s a preview of the first night match on Tuesday featuring the number one seed, Angelique Kerber and wildcard, Mona Barthel.
And finally, after enduring Riske-Vandeweghe, Lucie’s first match in Budapest against Magda Linette went to a third set tiebreak 😂
Both players struggled on return in the third set but Lucie kept her composure at the end to grit out the win. Lucie had led by a set and a break but things soon went pearshaped as Linette raised her level. Lucie’s return of serve continues to thwart her but as always, she kept battling right up until the last point. In the end, this was a big win and another stepping stone in rebuilding the confidence. Lucie lost six three set matches in a row from last July but has now won her last two! Next up is Hsieh Su-Wei in the second round.