World number four Agnieszka Radwanska overcame a misfiring serve to beat Kazakh teenager Yulia Putintseva 7-5, 6-3 in the second round of the Dubai women's tennis championships on Wednesday.
The Pole, who received a first-round bye, lost three of her first four service games on an overcast centre court and she will need to improve if she is retain her Dubai title, with Petra Kvitova or Ana Ivanovic awaiting her in the next round.
Serving at 3-3, Radwanska saved four break points after falling 0-40 behind, but Putintseva was undeterred and she earned another break point with a forehand winner down the line that fizzed past the advancing Pole. Rattled, the 2012 Wimbledon finalist double-faulted to fall 4-3 behind.
Radwanska, 23, responded by coming to the net more frequently to force Putintseva, ranked 101 in the world, to play on the back foot.
The Kazakh, seeking her third victory over a top-50 player, was found wanting and Radwanska broke for 4-4, with six out of eight games going against serve.
The Pole was too out of sorts to fully exploit her opponent's shortcomings but as the overcast sky gave way to a muggy desert sun she also upped the playing temperature on court, earning two set points with a flat forehand winner down the line. She needed only one as Putintseva smashed an attempted winner long.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki routed Chinese qualifier Jie Zheng 6-0, 6-1, while Russian veteran Nadia Petrova had a similar romp against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, winning 6-1, 6-0.
Azarenka pulls out
Grand slam winners Samantha Stosur and Petra Kvitova strolled into the second round with straight sets wins on Tuesday after Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka withdrew due to a foot injury.
Australian seventh seed Stosur beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1 while Czech Kvitova thumped Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1.
Somdev bows out
Somdev Devvarman bowed out of the ATP Open 13 tournament after suffering a 3-6, 5-7 defeat to Australia’s Berand Tomic in Marseille.
Rohan Bopanna and his British partner Colin Fleming reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Robin Haase and Dick Norman in their opening round.