DUBAI, UAE - Former champion and No.5 seed Agnieszka Radwanska overcame an inspired opponent and soaring temperatures to advance to the third round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.
After an even start to the contest, in which the players traded a couple of service holds each, Radwanska pulled away reeling off four straight games to take the set. However, with temperatures soaring towards 90ºF, getting across the finishing line was never going to be straightforward. And as Radwanska began to wilt in the heat - requiring an eight-minute medical timeout - Garcia seized the initiative to build a healthy lead in the second.
"I was getting a bit worse and worse but didn't go to the line that I would have to stop," Radwanska said. "That's why I was still going and, you know, keep fighting till the end."
When the Pole returned to court she looked out of sorts and despite hanging on to her next service game, Garcia soon leveled the match up. In the decider, it was the Frenchwoman's turn to feel the effects of the heat, tiring badly and allowing a rejuvenated Radwanska to wrestle back the momentum to close out a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory.
"I came from Poland under different conditions, and there was a lot of sickness going on out there. Everybody was sick," Radwanska said. "I came here not really 100% well. But I think the most important part is that I was able to finish that match and win that match, so that's the most important thing."
Elsewhere in the bottom half of the draw, No.4 seed Ana Ivanovic laid down an early marker with a commanding 6-0, 6-3 victory over Sabine Lisicki. Playing her first WTA match since a shock opening round exit to Lucie Hradecka at the Australian Open, Ivanovic was back in top form, firing 16 winners during her 65 minutes on court.
Next up for the Serb will be another big server, Karolina Pliskova, who maintained her excellent recent form with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Pliskova has now won 14 main draw matches in 2015 - two more than any other player - and Ivanovic is expecting a stern test.
"She's playing really well lately, and it's great to have new faces in woman's game," Ivanovic said when asked about Pliskova. "She's definitely a different kind of player to other girls. She's tall, has big serve, quite flat shots. I lost to her in US Open, so hopefully I can get a better game plan tomorrow and prevail."