DUBAI: Sara Errani ended any hopes that Julia Goerges harboured of repeating her 2012 success at the Dubai Tennis Championships, beating the German 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the first match on Centre Court today.
Last year Goerges surprised everyone by advancing all the way to the final before falling to Agnieszka Radwanska, but this time she had the misfortune to draw the fifth seeded Italian, ranked seven in the world. The German still put up a fight before conceding.
While Errani saved three of three break points she faced in the first set, she won an early break of serve against Goerges and that was followed by another when Goerges double-faulted on set point at 5-3.
Goerges then had to fight off a break point to hold for 1-1 in the second set, and she then broke to lead 2-1 and then again for 4-1 before eventually levelling the match at one set all. The third set was highly competitive throughout, with Errani emerging as the narrowest of winners.
Elsewhere, Russia’s world No. 12 Nadia Petrova broke the resistance of Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova to reach the second round.
Petrova lost the first set, but stormed back in the second to finish off her opponent in the third for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 win.
The Russian would have faced world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in round two, but the Belarusian withdrew from the tournament with a foot injury on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Dubai Tennis Championships continued its ongoing support of tennis development programmes in the country by hosting the WTA Week Tennis Emirates Coaching Clinic today.Over 100 aspiring young tennis players, aged 7 and 8 took to the courts. Practicing a number of drills, the children also received professional tips from top WTA players, Sorana Cirstea and Alicja Rosolska.