Wozniacki up and running in Dubai

Last week’s finalist in Doha, Caroline Wozniacki got off to a winning start at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday, beating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets.

The Dane was able to shrug off her finals defeat to Karolina Pliskova over the weekend with a 6-2, 7-5 bounce back victory against her 19-year-old Russian opponent.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Wozniacki said. “She mixes up the pace a lot and she has great hands and serves well. For me, it was important to play my own game and speed things up. I was pleased with my win.

“It’s much different conditions here,” she added. “The ball is flying. The court is faster than in Doha.

“I didn’t really know how I was going to play to start off with. Generally, I was pleased with my game. Some serves were flying a little bit. I kind of have to adjust that for tomorrow.”

Up next for Wozniacki is Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic, who ousted Turkish wildcard Cagla Buyukakcay on Sunday.

In other first round results, Ana Konjuh caught China’s Zhang Shuai napping as she raced to a 6-0, 6-1 victory.

Zhang ousted Garbine Muguruza in Doha last week, but appeared well off the pace in Dubai.

“The last two years I played quallies, so I’m really happy to be in the main draw this year and to keep my game like that,” said Konjuh. “Hopefully I’m going to continue.”

Another Chinese player, Peng Shuai, fared much better, comfortably defeating Leisa Tsurenko 6-1, 6-1.

There were some upsets as well. Catherine Bellis knocked out 17th seed Yulia Putintseva 6-1, 7-5, while qualifier Elise Mertens upset Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 6-2.

Other winners included Japan’s Misaki Doi and American trio Alison Riske, Lauren Davis and Christina McHale.