Schnyder, Kirilenko Winners in Dubai

Posted on February 19, 2007

DUBAI, U.A.E. - On opening day of the $1.5-million Dubai Duty Free Women's Open, one seed advanced while one fell.

In the featured night match on Monday, No.6 seed Patty Schnyder ousted Italy's Francesca Schiavone, 67(5) 63 63. In a tight match that lasted two hours, 28 minutes, Schnyder squeaked by the Italian, who won 47 percent of her points, compared to 53 percent from Schyder.

Schiavone has struggled this season after reaching a career-high No.11 ranking earlier in 2006. She entered Dubai with a 2-3 record and is still looking to advance past the second round at a tournament this year.

Playing in her fifth Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event of the year, Schnyder is now 7-4 for 2007. Last year, she was a semifinalist at this event. She lost to world No.1 Lindsay Davenport in three sets. Schnyder will now face Australia's Alicia Molik in the second round.

Molik is still trying to regain the form that brought her to No.8 in the world before an inner ear infection sidelined her for months. Her ranking has dropped to No.90 but she may be on her way back after an impressive 63 64 win over world No.20 Anna-Lena Groenefeld on Monday.

Groenefeld, who was making her Dubai debut, was ineffective in breaking Molik's powerful serve, converting only one of seven break points, while Molik converted three of four.

Monday's main draw action began with a 63 60 win from Maria Kirilenko over wildcard Monica Niculescu, followed by an exciting upset win by Greece's Eleni Daniilidou over No.7 seed Li Na of China, 67(5) 76(3) 63.

Daniilidou survived the three hour, three minute-match to beat Li, who is the leader of the recent Chinese tennis revolution. The match could have gone either way with both players winning 50 percent of their points, but in the end, Daniilidou came out on top, winning 61percent of her service points, just one percent more than Li. The same applied to return points, with Daniilidou winning 40 percent and Li winning 39percent.

Daniilidou will next play Japan's Ai Sugiyama, who also endured a three-setter, eventually beating another wildcard, Selima Sfar, 64 57 63 in two hours, 11 minutes. Sfar was playing in her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles main draw of the year.

The qualifiers were also determined on Monday with Vera Dushevina, Emmanuelle Gagliardi, Anne Kremer and Tamira Paszak advancing into the singles main draw.

Tuesday's matches will start at 2 p.m. local time with No.8 seed Daniela Hantuchova taking on Russian Elena Vesnina first on Centre Court. The featured night match will be fifth-seeded Serbian sensation Jelena Jankovic against France's Aravane Rezai. (WTA)