WTA Tour

Stosur's struggles continue as she subsides in Dubai

Samantha Stosur (Getty Images)
Samantha Stosur (Getty Images)

Dubai - Former US Open champion Samantha Stosur crashed out Tuesday in the first round of the Dubai Championship 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 to Estonian Anett Kontaveit.

After winning the opening set, Stosur lost the second and then trailed 2-5 in the third, reaching 4-5 but double-faulting on a Kontaveit match point to go out.

Former number one Angelique Kerber shrugged off a break in the first game of her match against Czech Barbora Strycova and won 6-2, 6-1 to move into the second round.

Kerber, Sydney champion and an Australian Open semi-finalist this season, took 50 minutes to win for the seventh time in eight meetings with Strycova

"It's always tough to play her, but I was just focusing on my game," the ninth-ranked Kerber said. "I was playing aggressive and going point by point.

"I'm feeling great so far this season, winning matches is really a great feeling, it's always important for me."

Stosur had been forced to qualify into a tournament for the first time since Zurich in 2008 and won three times over the weekend to reach the main draw. Before arriving in Dubai, the 33-year-old Australian had lost five matches and only won twice in 2018.

Stosur was plagued by eight double faults, was broken four times and managed a single ace as she lost in an hour and three-quarters at the Aviation Club.

American CiCi Bellis advanced past Belgium's Australian Open semi-finalist Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-3 while Wang Qiang of China beat Kiki Bertens 6-3, 6-0 in 55 minutes.

Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro beat Russia qualifier Sofya Zhuk 6-2, 6-2.

Wild card Bellis, a 2017 quarter-finalist here, earned a date with second seed and current Wimbledon winner Garbine Muguruza a week after beating US Open finalist Madison Keys and Karolina Pliskova in Qatar.

"I've never played her before. It's definitely going to be a new experience for me. It will be fun. She's an unbelievable player," Bellis said.

"She's been at the top of the game for a while now. It will be great for me just to see where my game lines up against another one of the top players."

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