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By Tennis Now | Tuesday, February 20, 2018

 
Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber won 12 of the final 14 games powering past Barbora Strycova into a Dubai clash with Sara Errani.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Angelique Kerber knows first impressions don't necessarily translate to final results.

Dropping the first game of her Dubai opener, Kerber reloaded and rolled through 12 of the final 14 games slamming Barbora Strycova, 6-2, 6-1, to reach the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Becker: Two Better Than Federer

The former world No. 1 converted five of six break points and hit 10 more winners (16 to 6) than her 25th-ranked opponent. Kerber beat Strycova for the seventh time in eight meetings. 

"It's always tough to play against her," Kerber told Annabel Croft afterward. "You have to be really focused on your game. I was trying to play my game and play point-by-point."



The sixth-seeded German will face 2016 Dubai champion Sara Errani for a quarterfinal spot.

Errani has beaten Kerber in two of three meetings, but the pair haven't squared off since the 2012 US Open when the Italian prevailed, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Former world No. 1 doubles player Errani defeated Lesia Tsurenko, 6-4, 6-3, for her first Tour-level, main-draw victory since she reached the Tianjin semifinals last October.

The 30-year-old Italian, who served a two-month doping ban last summer, is trying to rebuild her ranking on familiar turf. In addition to her Dubai title run, Errani reached the semifinals of the ITF Dubai Challenger in December.

American CiCi Bellis continued her strong surge stopping Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens, 6-3, 6-3.



The American wild card served 61 percent wrapping up her sixth victory in her last seven matches in 73 minutes.

The 41st-ranked Bellis, who played through qualifying to reach the Doha quarterfinals last week, will play Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza in round two.

Muguruza lost a tight three-setter to the resurgent Petra Kvitova in the Doha final on Sunday. 

Blown out in the opening set, Anett Kontaveit stormed back to beat qualifier Samantha Stosur, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.



Former US Open champion Stosur broke back in the ninth game of the final set and was two points from forging a 5-all tie before Kontaveit cranked a pair of returns to quiet the uprising.

The 28th-ranked Kontaveit will take on Naomi Osaka in a battle of big hitters.

The 20-year-old Japanese wild card, who swept eighth-seeded Kristina Mladenovic in her opener, has won both prior meetings with the 22-year-old Estonian.  

Carla Suárez Navarro carved up 139th-ranked Russian qualifier Sofya Zhuk, 6-2, 6-2, setting up a round of 16 match with third-seeded Karolina Pliskova.

The 2016 US Open finalist has split six prior encounters with the 29-year-old Suárez Navarro.

Caroline Garcia served 70 percent, smacked 10 aces and saved five of six break points dispatching left-hander Lucie Safarova, 6-3, 7-5.

The fifth-seeded Garcia will face another lefty, Ekaterina Makarova, in the round of 16.  


 

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