Johanna Konta makes a winning start to her Dubai campaign
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 20/02/18 4:46pm
Johanna Konta is through to the last-16 of the Dubai Duty Free Championships after a straight-sets win against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The British No 1, making her debut in Dubai after being drafted in as a wild card, edged a tight first set on a tie break before making shorter work of the second to win 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.
Pavlyuchenkova struck first with a break to lead 4-2, but Konta found a rhythm with her serve and levelled things up in the eighth game of the match.
Konta survived several break points in the next game, which had eight deuce points and lasted just under 14 minutes, before Pavlyuchenkova really struggled in the tie break and at the beginning of the second set.
The Russian served five double faults in nine service points during the breaker and the opening game of the second set, which Konta won to love.
Konta then broke again in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead and, having gone on to complete victory in just under an hour and three quarters, she will play Pavlyuchenkova's Russian compatriot Daria Kasatkina in the last eight.
Kasatkina beat former champion Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5 6-4 - the first time Radwanska has lost in the opening round of the tournament for nine years.
And eighth seed Kristina Mladenovic of France was knocked out by Japanese wildcard Naomi Osaka, who triumphed 6-2 6-2.
Petra Kvitova, who won her second straight tournament at the Doha Open on Sunday, has withdrawn from Dubai citing a leg injury.
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