Ivanovic completes rout as losses haunt top stars

Ana Ivanovic, now the world No. 17, disposed of top-seeded defending champion Simona Halep 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 in Dubai.
Ana Ivanovic, now the world No. 17, disposed of top-seeded defending champion Simona Halep 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 in Dubai.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

DUBAI • The top four seeds at the Dubai Tennis Championships all crashed to second-round losses, leaving the tournament without a single elite player at the quarter-final stage.

Top-seeded defending champion Simona Halep, Spanish pair Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro, and Czech Petra Kvitova were all eliminated in the second round after receiving byes for the first round.The tournament's other four seeds had already been knocked out.

Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic did the damage to Halep, saving a set point en route to a 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 victory.

The world No. 17, who was set to play Czech Barbora Strycova yesterday, called her win over Halep "one of the highest quality matches I have had in maybe the last year".

"I started a little bit anxiously. I was rushing too much. But I was really happy I managed to calm down and raise my level and win," she added.

Romanian Halep was just pleased to be feeling close to full fitness, having been plagued by a nasal infection and injuries recently.

"I'm disappointed that I lost but it's OK. I feel good," she said. "I have no pain anywhere. It's good, and the most important thing is that I'm healthy."

Elina Svitolina, whose new coaching adviser Justine Henin - the seven-time Major champion - was in the stands, defeated a tearful Muguruza, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Muguruza, the 2015 Wimbledon finalist, struck 68 unforced errors in her loss to the Ukrainian.

"I'm not really finding my game," the world No. 5 said. "I'm not really ready to compete. I need to work a little bit more."

American Madison Brengle shocked double Wimbledon winner Kvitova 0-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3.

Also on Wednesday, France's Caroline Garcia took out Suarez Navarro 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. The world No. 38 recorded another upset yesterday when she beat Germany's world No. 28 Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-4.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2016, with the headline 'Ivanovic completes rout as losses haunt top stars'. Print Edition | Subscribe