[QODLink]
Tennis

Kvitova and Wozniacki through to round two

No problems for former world number one Caroline Wozniacki or Petra Kvitova in Dubai as Williams looks to end drought.
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2013 17:33
Williams (L) is favourite in Dubai after Qatar champ Azarenka (R) pulls out with foot injury [Reuters]

Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova got out of the first round of the Dubai Championships for the first time in three visits by easily handling Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1 on Tuesday.

Kvitova, seeded sixth, broke the Slovak qualifier five times, the last when Hantuchova double-faulted twice in the final game.

Kvitova set up a second-round match with former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

Former world No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki, had little trouble against 18th-ranked Lucie Safarova, beating her 6-2, 6-2.

Wozniacki, the 2011 Dubai champion, was on course to meet new No. 1 Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.

Williams, who received a first-round bye, became the highest seed at No. 2 when Victoria Azarenka withdrew because of a right foot injury she said she had been carrying for a week, while defending her Doha title and beating Williams in the final at the weekend.

"I feel so much better this week... I feel like a completely different athlete, a completely different person"

Serena Williams

"I tried (to play), but my body says no. I cannot force (it)," Azarenka said.

"I cannot put myself in a position to hurt myself. That would just be stupid."

She intended to travel to the United States to prepare for the big Indian Wells event next month.

Meanwhile, Williams had her eye on ending her Dubai title drought on her fourth visit.

Her big sister Venus has won the tournament twice, but Serena's three previous visits didn't end so well. On her debut in 2005, she had to retire in the semifinals. In 2008, she withdrew before the tournament because of the flu, and in 2009 she fell to Venus in the semis.

This time around, Williams said she was healthy - she had a flu bug last week - and upbeat even after losing the final in Doha on Sunday.

"I feel so much better this week," Williams said.

"I feel like a completely different athlete, a completely different person."

Having become the oldest No. 1 in the WTA's rankings history on Monday, Williams said she was proud to have regained the ranking after a tumultuous few years, and was moving on in search of a 48th career title and more Grand Slam success.

"I feel like I'm at a place where I reached that goal of getting back to the top," she said.

"If I stay that would be great and if not then I've done it."

She's set to meet Marion Bartoli in the second round.

424

Source:
AP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.