Before packing for the first American away session of the year let’s make a quick stop in the Middle East. This week we will stay in Dubai for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, a women’s Premier tournament held in the United Arab Emirates.
Already a protagonist in 2013 – when she became the runner-up against the former n.6 seed Petra Kvitova (2-6, 6-1, 1-6) – our Sara Errani chose to compete in both Singles and Doubles this year.
So far the Italian has always maintained a Last-16 round mininum standard and she did not want to break with tradition in 2016: once knew her R1 opponent – coming straight from the Qualifying draw – was the Chinese Saisai Zheng, n.72 in WTA’s world ranking, Sarita immediately started her engine to pass over the unfortunate Fed Cup weekend in Marseille ended up with a tough loss against the home team.
Even thought already ahead in the match records thanks to the win gained in Guangzhou Open’s QFs last year (6-1, 6-0) and Shenzhen in 2014 (6-0, 3-6, 7-6(3)), Sara took a while to tune herself in the match and found herself stuck in a 5-1 disadvantage. Nevertheless, her proverbial consistency came to her help so that she could score an “Errani” – also known as comeback – once more, pushing the gas pedal all the way down and closing the match with no sweat. Final score: 7-5, 6-3.
Also, our warrior put up another great performance to the side of her teammate Carla Suarez Navarro in doubles – unfortunately the Spaniard will be Italy’s next opponent for the Fed Cup World Group I Playoffs: even thought they pulled the n.1 seeded team out of the draw – Bethanie Mattel-Sands and Yaroslava Shvedova – the italo-spanish alliance found its way to the victory through an well-played super tie-break and a stunning first set hold to love. Final score: 6-0, 4-6, 10-6.
Later today, the girls will be back out to face the Chinese duo Xu-Zheng, winner of the Nabhani/Pironkova challenge.