Radwanska blows into Dubai second round in tough conditions
By Bill Scott Feb 22, 2012, 6:04 GMT
Dubai - Agnieszka Radwanska struggled with desert wind and a determined opponent from qualifying as the fifth seed scratched out a 6-1, 6-7 (6-8), 7-5 defeat of Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak on Tuesday to reach the second round of the Dubai Championships.
Czech Lucie Safarova beat Croatian Petra Martic 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in another slow-running match, while Iveta Benesova also moved through as injured Slovak opponent Dominika Cibulkova had to quit trailing 3-1 with a hamstring problem.
Two-time quarter-finalist Daniela Hantuchova, playing the event for the seventh time, took two and a half hours to beat Polona Hercog of Slovenia 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
Romanian Simona Halep will line up against holder Caroline Woznicki on Wednesday after booking her second-round spot over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-2.
There was more injury drama at an event where second seed Petra Kvitova withdrew with a virus. Russian Maria Kirilenko retired before a doubles match with a neck injury after reaching the singles second round on Monday.
Australian Samantha Stosur, the fourth-seeded US Open champion, left the doubles court with a loss and feeling ill a day before her opening singles.
Canada's Wozniack, ranked 80th and only back on court after dealing with a 2011 forearm injury, laid on a marathon for Radwanska after going down quickly in the opening set but turning the contest lasting two hours, 32 minutes into a true struggle.
'She (started) to play much better in the second set and the first match is always the toughest,' said the winner. 'I'm just very happy that I could come back in this third set and win.
'Sometimes the wind was very strong, it was very hard on one side. I'm just happy that I got through.'
Wozniack, a qualifier who needed three sets to win all three of her preliminary matches, traded three breaks with the Pole in the second set, finally earning the set in a tiebreaker on the third set point.
The final set featured more plot twists, with the Canadian going up a break in the fifth game only to lose it on a drop shot from Radwanska for 5-all. The seed earned the hard-fought win on her first match point, as Wozniack netted a forehand.
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