Dubai Tennis Championships: Ana Ivanovic through, Sloane Stephens bows out
Laura Robson failed to clear the first hurdle at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships.
Last Updated: 18/02/13 11:28pm
Having battled back from a set down to force a decider, the British number two then recovered from a 5-2 deficit to take the match into a tie-break.
The world number 43 looked on course to progress through to a second-round meeting with Agnieszka Radwanska when she went 5-3 up, only to then lose five of the next six points against her opponent from Kazakhstan.
Sloane Stephens was also an early casualty in the United Arab Emirates, Sorana Cirstea of Romania defeating the American teenager 5-7 6-3 6-2.
Stephens was a set and a break up but was unable to hang on to her advantage, showing her frustation after losing the eighth game in the second when she slammed her racket down after hitting a forehand wide.
Ana Ivanovic survived a second-set wobble to defeat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 7-6 (7/5).
After breaking in the opening game on her way to taking the first set, the former French Open champion looked to be cruising through when she then raced into a 4-0 lead in the next.
However the former world number one's service game suddenly fell apart, allowing Pavlyuchenkova to break back twice and force a tie-breaker. Afterwards the Serbian put her serving issues down to a shoulder problem.
"I have been struggling for weeks now," Ivanovic said. "I was kind of afraid to hit the ball because it was getting a bit sore, but I was just so happy to win in two (sets) so I can regenerate more and try to be ready for the next one."
Marion Bartoli, meanwhile, came from a set down to get the better of Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic in three sets, the 11th seed winning 3-6 6-4 6-1.