Day 1 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was dominated by upsets (as is so often the case with a WTA event). A pair of American’s recorded impressive, surprise victories: CoCo Vandeweghe defeated 2015 runner-up Karolina Pliskova whilst Madison Brengle defeated 2015 semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova. Julia Goerges recorded a dominant victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova whilst Andrea Petkovic recorded a much needed win over Camila Giorgi.
The day started with a huge upset, Madison Brengle recorded one of the biggest victories of her career, defeating an erratic Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 7-5. Brengle showed great resilience throughout the match, coming from behind in each set courtesy of dogged defense. Brengle’s reward is a second round clash with 2013 champion Petra Kvitova. Fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe also recorded a significant win, defeating Karolina Pliskova 7-6 6-1. It was the American’s first singles victory of 2016. Vandeweghe won a tight opening set which featured no breaks of serve before running away with the match in the second set.
A pair of German’s made brilliant starts to their Dubai campaign on Monday. Andrea Petkovic thrashed Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-1 whilst Julia Goerges produced a superb performance to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-0 6-1. Goerges blasted 28 winners past the Russian, it was the worst loss inflicted on the Russian in her 13-year career. The challenge for both Petkovic and Goerges will be to bring their great form into the next round, both have struggled to be consistent in recent times.
On a day of upsets there was some stability, Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia both got off to a positive start in Dubai. Mladenovic overcame Lesia Tsurenko with a 6-2 7-6 win whilst Caroline Garcia defeated Anna Schmiedlova 6-4 6-1. Kristina Mladenovic will face CoCo Vandeweghe in the second round, Caroline Garcia will face Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quarter-finals.
The qualifying draw was also finalised on Monday with Tsvetana Pironkova, Yaroslava Shvedova, Jana Cepelova and Saisai Zheng all winning their way into the main draw. A strong group of qualifiers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one or more of them progress through the first round in Dubai.