Daria Gavrilova didn’t have the debut she wanted at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Her game was way below par against Ana Ivanovic who dominated in straight sets to win 6-1, 6-0 on Centre Court Tuesday afternoon.
The Aussie stole a win from the former number one at the Rome Masters last year defeating the Serb in a three set marathon coming out the winner in two straight tiebreakers. She’ll hold that over Ivanovic’s head in the desert despite having been out of action for two weeks.
For Ivanovic, she nearly captured her first title in years but was knocked out by eventual champion Roberta Vinci. With the urge to get a huge win early in the season, the former number one would be in dominating form if she wanted to split the series with Gavrilova.
Ivanovic came out of the gate with two wins in a row before recovering on her serve to win Game Three. Ivanovic got out of trouble in the fourth on deuce holding serve against the Aussie before taking a 4-1 hold of the set. In the end she easily got through the final pair of games to win the set in 28 minutes.
Ivanovic had an 80 percent rate on the first serve keeping the double faults and unforced errors in check. The same couldn’t be said for Gavrilova who had all around troubles with her game sending her coach out to give her a pep talk.
The Serb took the first game of the second set defeating her opponents attempt to get sharp and fast against Ivanovic. She lost on a double break by the Serb blowing her second straight service. She was running away with the set with a 3-0 blowout with Gavrilova taking a medical timeout to deal with blisters and sores on her feet.
As play resumed, so did the dominance of Ivanovic as the former number one held firm against a struggling Gavrilova who was down and out of it. She did everything possible to play well on serve but despite it all she couldn’t get a win finding herself on the edge with the Serb serving for the match. It went smoothly for Ivanovic who cakewalked to victory with the Aussie committing so many errors.
It was all set and done in 53 minutes with the match being a complete turnaround from just under a year ago since their last match. Ivanovic had her shot blazing playing wonderfully on the first serve landing 19 winners, six of nine on the break points and eight for eight from the net.
“I really tried to step up in this one because she’s a great mover and hits the ball really well,” Ivanovic said after the match. “Here the ball worked to my advantage moving forward and I did that really well playing aggressive on the return. I directed the forehand in games and really happy it worked well.”
She won’t have it easygoing into the second round where she’ll face second world ranked Simona Halep in the next round. “You always want to play against the best and challenge yourself,” said Ivanovic. “We’ve had battles in the past and its gonna be a tough one but ill look forward to it.”