World no1 Iga Swiatek continued her impressive start to the WTA season going with a straightforward victory over Leylah Fernandez in her opening match of the Dubai Open.
The business end of the championship also saw an impressive display by the new Australian Open champion Arya Sabalenka against the United States’ Lauren Davis.
Swiatek, looking to add to her title in Doha, eased past the Canadian 6-1, 6-1 in just 72 minutes.
After taking care of Fernandez, Swiatek will be up against the 14th seed Liudmila Samsonova as she looks to win her first Dubai Open championships.
Sabalenka, seen as the most credible threat to Swiatek this season, better the Poles’ time by wrapping up her win in 59 minutes.
The Belarusian will take on Jeļena Ostapenko in her next fixture tonight.
In other results, the third-seeded Jessica Pegula of the United States got the better of Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 while fifth-seeded Coco Gauff of the United States, eighth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, ninth-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, 12th-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 14th-seeded Liudmila Samsonova of Russia and 15th-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus all advanced to the third round.
There were some surprises in store as American Madison Keys upset fourth-seeded Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-4 while Karolina Pliskova eased past the sixth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-2, and the Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova knocked out seventh-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.