Photos by Nida Alibhai
(February 18, 2015) DUBAI, UAE – Wednesday marked a day of upsets at the Dubai Tennis Championships. Defending champion Venus Williams was beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Lucie Safarova in the third round along with No. 2 Petra Kvitova, fourth seed Ana Ivanovic, fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska and seventh seed Angelique Kerber.
For three-time champion Williams, it snapped her 16-match win-streak, her first loss in Dubai since 2005.
“I think she played awesome,” said Williams of her conqueror Safarova. “There were a couple of games there that I didn’t even get my racquet on the ball. What can I say to that? I don’t think I played badly, but I couldn’t afford to make any errors today. The errors that I made were really costly, so, you know, credit to her. I wish her the best of luck the rest of the tournament.”
“I was firing the ball, serving really well,” Safarova said. “I put the pressure right away from the first point. My lefty serve into her body and mixing the lefty serve with the really flat and fast serves, that seems give her a little trouble.”
Second seed Kvitova fell to Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
“Yeah, everybody can beat everyone in the top,” The Czech said. “And, yeah, maybe it’s nice for the fans that they can see something new and some surprises, but not every time it’s nice for us.”
Radwanska was upset 6-4, 6-2 by Garbine Muguruza after arriving in Dubai struggling with her health.
“I think when you’re not playing your best tennis then it’s hard to compete with those kind of players,” said Radwanska. “I think I didn’t serve enough, you know, to win that. I think that was really important part in that match.”
Muguruza believes there is always a chance to upset the top players if you work hard and keep your concentration.
“I think that nowadays there are so many girls that play so good that the difference between the top players and the other ones are really small,” she said. “So I think that you have a chance if you work and play and be concentrate and do your game, I think you can beat them.”
The day was not all about upsets as top seed Simona Halep beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-3, third seed Caroline Wozniacki overcame 2014 Dubai finalist Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-0 and Ekaterina Makarova also advanced, beating Zarina Diyas 6-3, 6-4.
DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS – DUBAI, UAE
15-21 FEBRUARY 2015
RESULTS – FEBRUARY 18, 2015
Singles – Third Round
 S. Halep (ROU) d T. Pironkova (BUL) 64 63
 C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d  P. Kvitova (CZE) 63 46 63
 C. Wozniacki (DEN) d  A. Cornet (FRA) 64 60
 K. Pliskova (CZE) d  A. Ivanovic (SRB) 62 46 64
G. Muguruza (ESP) d  A. Radwanska (POL) 64 62
 E. Makarova (RUS) d Z. Diyas (KAZ) 63 64
 [WC] F. Pennetta (ITA) d  A. Kerber (GER) 62 36 61
 L. Safarova (CZE) d  V. Williams (USA) 64 62
Doubles – Second Round
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d  S Hsieh (TPE) / S Mirza (IND) 64 46 10-7
 E Makarova (RUS) / E Vesnina (RUS) d K Koukalova (CZE) / K Siniakova (CZE) 76(0) 64
A Rodionova (AUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) d  M Hingis (SUI) / F Pennetta (ITA) 63 76(2)
M Niculescu (ROU) / A Panova (RUS) d  S Peng (CHN) / K Peschke (CZE) 76(8) 76(7)
 G Muguruza (ESP) / C Suárez Navarro (ESP) d J Jankovic (SRB) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) 64 64
 C Garcia (FRA) / K Srebotnik (SLO) d M Erakovic (NZL) / H Watson (GBR) 63 64
 T Babos (HUN) / K Mladenovic (FRA) d [WC] F Al Nabhani (OMA) / M Barthel (GER) 61 62
J Goerges (GER) / A Groenefeld (GER) d C Dellacqua (AUS) / S Stosur (AUS) 64 62
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2015
CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
 L. Safarova (CZE) vs  K. Pliskova (CZE)
G. Muguruza (ESP) vs  C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
Not Before 7:00 pm
 S. Halep (ROU) vs  E. Makarova (RUS)
 C. Wozniacki (DEN) vs  [WC] F. Pennetta (ITA)
COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
 T Babos (HUN) / K Mladenovic (FRA) vs M Niculescu (ROU) / A Panova (RUS)
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs J Goerges (GER) / A Groenefeld (GER)
Not Before 6:00 pm
After suitable rest – A Rodionova (AUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) vs  G Muguruza (ESP) / C Suárez Navarro (ESP)
After suitable rest –  C Garcia (FRA) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs  E Makarova (RUS) / E Vesnina (RUS)