Dubai - Agnieszka Radwanska struggled with desert wind and a determined opponent from qualifying as the fifth seed scratched out a 6-1, 6-7 (6-8), 7-5 defeat of Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak on Tuesday to reach the second round of the Dubai Championships.
Czech Lucie Safarova beat Croatian Petra Martic 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in another slow-running match, while Iveta Benesova also moved through as injured Slovak opponent Dominika Cibulkova had to quit trailing 3-1 with a hamstring problem.
There was more injury drama at an event where second seed Petra Kvitova withdrew with a virus. Russian Maria Kirilenko retired before a doubles match with a neck injury after reaching the singles second round on Monday.
Australian Samantha Stosur, the fourth-seeded US Open champion, left the doubles court with a loss and feeling ill a day before her opening singles.
Canada's Wozniack, ranked 80th and only back on court after dealing with a 2011 forearm injury, laid on a marathon for Radwanska after going down quickly in the opening set but turning the contest lasting two hours, 32 minutes into a true struggle.
"She (started) to play much better in the second set and the first match is always the toughest," said the winner. "I'm just very happy that I could come back in this third set and win.
"Sometimes the wind was very strong, it was very hard on one side.
I'm just happy that I got through."
Wozniack, a qualifier who needed three sets to win all three of her preliminary matches, traded three breaks with the Pole in the second set, finally earning the set in a tiebreaker and a third set point.
The final set featured more plot twists, with the Canadian going up a break in the fifth game only to lose it on a drop shot from Radwanska for 5-all. The seed earned the hard-fought win on her first match point, as Wozniack netted a forehand.
Results on the second day of the Dubai WTA Open on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) bt Francesca Schiavone (ITA x7) 6-1, 7-5
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) bt Polona Hercog (SLO) 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/4)
Simona Halep (ROM) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6-4, 6-2
Lucie Safarova (CZE) bt Petra Martic (CRO) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x5) bt Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 6-1, 6-7 (6/8), 7-5
Iveta Benesova (CZE) bt Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 3-1 retired