Former champion Agnieszka Radwanska bid a hasty first-round exit from the Dubai Tennis Championships, but there was better news for Johanna Konta on Monday.
The 2012 victor Radwanska, who is ranked 31st having once been as high as world number two, fell to a 7-5 6-4 defeat to Daria Kasatkina in a match in which holding serve proved tricky.
In total, there were 12 breaks with Kasatkina able to hold her nerve in the crucial moments, converting seven of 13 opportunities that were presented.
“Everybody knows that Aga is a tricky player. She can play an unbelievable winner from any part of the court, it doesn’t matter where,” Kasatkina said.
“I was kind of ready for that. I was just trying to focus only on my shots.”
Seventh seed Konta – handed a wildcard for the tournament – is next up for Kasatkina, after she ultimately outclassed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 to become the first British woman to win a main draw match at the tournament.
The withdrawal of several high-profile players including Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova has potentially opened up the draw for the likes of Konta.
But eighth seed Kristina Mladenovic is one such player who will not take advantage after the French star slipped to a desperately disappointing 6-2 6-2 loss to Naomi Osaka.
Rounding off the action, there was double Russian success for Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova against Peng Shuai and Anastasija Sevastova respectively.