DUBAI: Wild card entrant Marion Bartoli recovered from a set down to beat Klara Zakopalova 3-6,6-4,6-1 in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships which got underway on Monday at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.
The world number 11 from France took two hours to overcome the challenge from world number 28. She will now meet second seed and world number one Serena Williams, who regained the top spot in the tennis rankings after winning the semi-finals in Doha Open, in the second round of the tournament.
Czech Republic’s Zakopalova began well and sealed the first set in just 35 minutes of the play. Despite losing the few games of the opening set, Zakopalova capitalised on the unforced errors of the top-ranked French opponent.
Zakopalova tested Bartoli to the limits in the second set too, but the French turned the table around after being down 4-3.
Later, she gave no room to the Czech and went on to win the last two games and made a comeback after winning 6-4.
Bartoli broke Zakopalova twice in the final set and dominated the decider completely as she raced to a 5-1 lead.
Zakopalova just could not come up good enough in the tencrucial moments of the final set and eventually lost the battle.
“I played extremely bad in the first set but turned around the match from second set.
“I am pleased with the way I played later,” said Bartoli.
Talking about her next match against Serena, Bartoli said it’s an extremely tough draw.
“It’s going to be a very hard test, of course, but it will show me where I am and where I need to improve my game.
“I don’t expect to have anything easy against Serena,” she added.
Another wild card entry, Svetana Kuznetsova of Russian, rallied to defeat Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-2,4-6, 61.
The 48th ranked won the first set comfortably but her 71th ranked oppoent gave tough time to her in the second set and went on to win it 6-4.
The Russian won the third set comfortably after allowing Garrigues to win only one game.
In other matches, Daniela Hantuchova cruised into the second round with a easy 6-1, 6-2 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro while Urszula Radwanska, sister of Agnieszka Radwanska, booked berth in the next round with 6-3,6-3 victory against Kurumi Nara.