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m3n4.net March 21, 2019


Svitolina advances, Osaka is stunned in Dubai

23 February 2019, 12:42 | Tracey Rhodes

Dubai 2019: Osaka out, but former champs Kvitova, Halep, Svitolina head to QFs

Simona Halep- Dubai 2019- Getty

With top seed and surging tennis star Naomi Osaka out early at the Dubai Tennis Championships, former world number one Simona Halep easily became a strong pick to take the title.

The Tunisian was down 7-6, 4-0 in the second round match with the two-time defending champion when she retired - she fell towards the end of the first set and required a lengthy medical break.

Crowd favourite and third seed Halep coped with gusty conditions at the Aviation Club as she beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 7-5, breaking seven times.

The 28-year-old saved six of nine break points and converted three of 11 to advance to a quarter-final against Viktoria Kuzmova after the Slovakian world No. 46 rallied from a awful start to defeat Sofia Kenin of the U.S. 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in 2 hours, 16 minutes.

The Czech, who won the Dubai trophy in 2013, admitted that she came into the week somewhat unprepared, last playing at St Petersburg a fortnight ago.

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Following the match, Hsieh said she was happy she could finally overcome the talented Kerber's skill and manage a victory herself, reports LTN.

"I don't really care if I play the first match", the Australian Open runner-up said. Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei in action during the match against Japan's Naomi Osaka.

Halep reached the final in Doha last week and looks set to go similarly deep at this Premier 5 event after booking a last-eight spot in the United Arab Emirates.

Osaka stunned the tennis world last week by announcing her split from coach Sascha Bajin despite winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the U.S. and Australian Opens.

It was her debut appearance as the best player on the WTA Tour after winning the Australian Open last month - and she admits the pressure was all too much.

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"It's a little bit hard because I feel like people are staring at me, and not like in a good way".

The world No. 4 struggled with her serve, sending down 10 double faults, winning just 66 percent of points on her first serve compared with her opponent's 83 percent. "Yeah, I feel close to my highest level".

"That is a big motivation for me here", the Ukrainian said. Final set, I did little bit more. Alison Risk of the U.S. also advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over France's Alizé Cornet 6-2, 6-3.

Osaka wiped away tears as she spoke of the challenge of adjusting to her new celebrity.

"It means a lot, honestly", Mladenovic said after booking a match with a Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro in the last 16.

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