Former world No1 Ana Ivanovic made a winning start in her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign with a formidable 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Aussie youngster Daria Gavrilova on Tuesday.
It was a stark contrast to their only previous meeting, in Rome last year, which Gavrilova won in a third-set tiebreak.
But the 21-year-old Russian-born Aussie struggled on serve, landing just 49 per cent of her first serves in, and double-faulted five times en route to her 53-minute defeat.
It was a sensational performance from Ivanovic, who hit 19 winners against 16 unforced errors, but has no time to celebrate as she takes on top seed and defending champion Simona Halep in the second round on Wednesday.
“I put a lot of hard work in. It’s nice to see that on the court, as well. I’m also not rushing to finish the points, because I’m confident I can stay in the rallies. That’s what you need when you get deep into the tournament,” said Ivanovic, who is 2-2 head-to-head against Halep.
“Still, there is room for improvement, a lot of work to be done. You want to play against the best, and next match is going to be a tough one for me. Simona is a very tough, consistent player. She strikes the ball well, she moves well, so it’s going to be a good challenge.”
On her part, Gavrilova, who had a great Australian Open, where she made the fourth round but has not played since, said she was lacking match play.
“I don’t know, I was very off I think. I haven’t played in a bit and starting with someone who is that good is a bit hard and she played very good. I was totally off, it wasn’t great at all,” said a dejected Gavrilova.