Ivanovic starts Dubai with crushing defeat of Aussie Gavrilova

 16 Feb 2016 - 18:15

 Ivanovic starts Dubai with crushing defeat of Aussie Gavrilova
Serbian tennis player Ana Ivanovic returns the ball to Australian player Daria Gavrilova during the first round of the WTA Dubai Open tennis competition on February 16, 2016. Ivanovic beat Gavrilova 6-1, 6-0. (AFP / Marwan Naamani)

 

Dubai: Ana Ivanovic followed up last week's semi-final in Russia with a dynamic start at the Dubai Tennis Championships as the former world number one crushed Australian Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-0.

The first-round rout for the Serb required just 53 minutes as she showed no mercy to her Russian-born opponent, who thrilled her new home audience in Melbourne by reaching the Australian Open fourth round.

Ivanovic reached the final four in St Petersburg at the weekend, losing to US Open finalist Roberta Vinci.

"Last week I played some great tennis. Obviously it's a little bit tough, different conditions here completely," Ivanovic said. "I had only one practice here. But still I'm very happy.

"I know I've done the work, and now it's just about executing and also enjoying the competition."

Ivanovic, a three-time Dubai quarter-finalist, broke six times as Gavrilova committed 22 unforced errors. The challenger was playing the event for the first time after losing in qualifying three years ago.

2008 French Open winner Ivanovic, ranked 17th, will face top seed Simona Halep in the second round at the Aviation Club.

"I expected a very tough match because of the (three-set, second-round) battle (won by Gavrilova) we had in Rome on clay," Ivanovic said. "I really tried to step it up today and be aggressive.

"Especially here in the desert I feel that the ball sometimes flies a little bit through the air quicker, so I tried to use that in my advantage. So I'm very pleased overall."

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina won a battle with Slovak Jana Cepelova, posting a 6-3, 6-1 result to next take on second seed and 2015 semi-finalist Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

"It was a good start but then I struggled a little bit to finish the set. But I'm really happy that a good finish with two sets and only gave up four games. It was a good start."

Svitolina, now taking advice from former number one Justine Henin in an arrangement put into place recently, won a massive 17-minute game to earn a 4-1 lead in the second set on the way to her sweep.

The 21-year-old said having another voice in her tennis can only be a huge help.

"It's great to have Justine in my team, I worked with her in offseason for a little bit, and now she's gonna join us for some tournaments.

"I'm looking forward to it, I'm looking forward to hard work. Of course there have been some small changes, but we are trying to do something new what can refresh my game. That's it."

Czech Barbora Strycova beat qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-3.

AFP