Sorana Cirstea and Beatriz Haddad Maia produced an absolutely stunning tennis show in the first round of WTA Dubai 1000. Just one day after the fabulous battle between Liudmila Samsonova and Paula Badosa prevailed by the Russian, Cirstea and Haddad Maia delivered another tennis marathon, breaking this year's record of longest WTA match to 3 hours and 32 minutes. Not just the length of the match was spectacular, but the level of emotions and plot twists made this battle just epic. The Romanian made a big upset on the world's number 12, winning the match besides defending two match-points in second set and being down a break in a decider twice.
Haddad Maia was a clear pre-match favorite with an average odd 1.25. The Brazilian who plays a decent season so far, played up to expectations in the opening set, winning it 6-4, gaining the only one break of the set and producing 4 breakpoints without the necessity to defend even single one. Haddad Maia was putting a pressure on her opponent in second set, producing another three breakpoints in 7th game, but got surprisingly broken the game after. Cirstea did not manage to serve out the set and tiebreak was needed to decide it. The Brazilian was 6-4 up, having two match-points including one on her own serve. She blew up her chances, as the Romanian came out of trouble and clinched the set after 85 minutes of play (!) winning the tiebreak 9-7.
The pre-match favourite has not discouraged herself, moving into 2-0 and 4-1 lead in the decider. That was still not enough, as Cirstea broke back and gained the deciding break in 11th game. It was another exhausting set which lasted more than hour. Hats off for both the players for the fighting spirit and admiration for the Romanian who was really close to lose this match a couple of times. Commiserations for Haddad Maia, who suffered a bitter loss despite producing more breakpoints (12-8), two match-points in second set and winning more single points in general (125-123).
Another interesting and long battle ended up with an upset was delivered by Anhelina Kalinina and Veronika Kudermetova. The Ukrainian managed to defeat the world's number 11 who was rated as a confident pre-match favorite with an average odd 1.31. Kalinina prevailed after 2:58 hours, eliminating the Russian with a score 6-3 5-7 7-5.
Elena Rybakina vs Bianca Andreescu was the most electryfing match-up of Monday's matches line-up. The clash between Grand Slam champions ended up as expected, with a straight sets wins of current WTA top 10 member. Rybakina won 6-3 6-4 in quite a weird match, where both players needed to call the medical time-out. Rybakina admitted after the match, that she felt powerless. All the more admirable, that the Kazakh managed to came out of being a break down in second set and winning the last 4 games of the match, closing it in about 1.5 hours.
Tuesday will be a pure tennis festive on the complex of courts in Dubai. It's the day, when all the 16 matches of 2nd round are scheduled to be played and that means all the top seeds coming to appear in action, including such a great match-ups like Iga Swiatek vs Leylah Fernandez, Maria Sakkari vs Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Garcia vs Madison Keys and much more. Aryna Sabalenka will play her first match as a Grand Slam champion, coming back to the competition in a match against Lauren Davis.