Former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza was forced to work hard for victory over Dayana Yastremska at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Muguruza, seeded 12th, needed seven match points before clinching a 4-6 6-3 6-3 win against Yastremska, the only teenager in the current top 50 at No.34.
It was the Spaniard’s first win in three meetings against Yastremska and she will next face China’s Zheng Saisai in the second round.
“I think [Yastremska] is one of the hardest hitters on the tour right now, but I think I played better [this time] and that’s the key,” said Muguruza.
“I think my serve was better, I think I was holding my court better than the previous time I played her, just little details. But she’s with a lot of confidence.”
— WTA (@WTA) February 17, 2019
Russia’s Daria Kasatkina roared back from a break down in the deciding set to beat Polish qualifier Magdalena Frech 6-3 3-6 6-4.
Before arriving in Dubai, 11th seed Kasatkina had lost all four matches she had contested this season and on Sunday struggled for the majority of the match against Frech, who was playing only her second top-20 opponent.
Kasatkina trailed 3-0 in the final set but the Moscow Open champion continued to back her aggressive approach, and was rewarded when two consecutive forehands found the baseline to hand her a break in the seventh game.
Three backhand winners helped her fend off a break point at 4-4 before a string of powerful forehand ensured she claimed the final five games of the match to book a place in the second round, despite hitting 61 unforced errors in the match.
Kristina Mladenovic, Eugenie Bouchard and Belinda Bencic were among the other winners on Sunday.
Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova are the top four seeds in Dubai.
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