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Sports

Halep and Kvitova win opening matches in Dubai

media Simon Halep REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won their first round matches at the Dubai Championships on Tuesday. Elina Svitolina made a strong start to her bid for a third straight title.

Kvitova, the 2013 winner, recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4 and squeeze into the third round.

Halep, Dubai champion in 2015, beat 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.

The Romanian said she is still feeling the effects of her weekend final defeat in Doha by Elise Mertens.

"It was a good match because I won it. I tried to finish the points faster because I'm a little bit tired," Halep said.

"She played well, the level was pretty good. At some points I really ran very well. I'm confident. I feel good on court even if I'm tired."

A third former world number one also advanced as Angelique Kerber beat Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, said she was unfazed about the early midday start to her match.

"I don't really care if I play the first match," the Australian Open runner-up said. "Now I'm done, so I have a free afternoon.

"I'm not sure what I'm pleased with... maybe with my comeback at the end.

"Even when I lost the tie-break, I was really fighting in the first set to get it done, then the tie-break was just a little bad from my side.

"I won my first two games in the second set. It was really helpful for me mentally. That's probably what I'm pleased with."

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