Dubai - Fifth-seeded Belinda Bencic of
Switzerland, playing her first week as a top 10 player, was upset 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
by Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.
The ninth-ranked Bencic, 18, who reached
last weekend's final in St. Petersburg, Russia, looked physically exhausted by
the end of the 2 hour, 31 minute match against the 20th-ranked Jankovic.
"It wasn't easy being in St.
Petersburg over the weekend and then in Dubai since yesterday, but that's part
of being a professional tennis player and it's something that we all have to
cope with," Bencic said.
"Of course I am disappointed to have
lost, but it's a long season and I need to turn my focus to the next
Seventh-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy, who
won the St. Petersburg tournament, also made an early exit on Tuesday, falling
to Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.
Four of the eight seeds have lost in the
first round - Bencic, Vinci, Karolina Pliskova and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
In the 12th game of the second set, Bencic
smacked a backhand crosscourt wide on a sixth set point in the game for
By the third set, Bencic was visibly
struggling, although she managed to save seven overall break points against her
serve in the sixth and eighth games.
In the final game of the match, Bencic
netted a backhand at 15-40 to end the contest.
"I'm just getting my rhythm and kind
of basically starting the season," Jankovic said. "You know, I just
fought hard. I was hanging in there every point."
In earlier matches, Anna Ivanovic of Serbia
and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine advanced to the second round.
Ivanovic swept past Daria Gavrilova 6-1,
6-0, while the 21st-ranked Elina Svitolina advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 win against
Slovakian qualifier Jana Cepelova.
The 17th-ranked Ivanovic came to Dubai
after having reached the semi-finals in St. Petersburg, where she lost to
Ivanovic will play defending champion and
top-seeded Simona Halep in the second round.
"You want to play against the best,
and next match is going to be a tough one for me," Ivanovic said.
"Simona is a very tough, consistent player. She strikes the ball well. She
moves well. So it's going to be a good challenge."
Svitolina's match was her first to be
played with coaching consultant Justine Henin, a seven-time Grand Slam
champion, in attendance.
"It's great to have Justine in my
team, and I worked with her in offseason for a little bit, and now she's going
to join us for some tournaments," Svitolina said. "I'm looking forward
to hard work. We are trying to do something new (to) refresh my game."
Svitolina plays second-seeded Garbine
Muguruza of Spain in the second round.