The top seeds have tumbled at the Dubai Tennis Championships with the top four seeds all ousted on a day of carnage.
Top seed Simona Halep was booted by former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 before second seed Garbine Muguruza was upset by Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.
The carnage continued when fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova also lost to American Madison Brengle 0-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 before Spain’s Carla Suarez-Navarro fell to Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 4-6 6-4 6-3.
All eight seeded players – Halep, Muguruza, Kvitova, Suarez Navarro, Belinda Bencic, Karolina Pliskova, Roberta Vinci and Svetlana Kuznetsova – lost their opening matches at Dubai to blow the tournament wide open.
Third-ranked Halep had a set point at 40-30 when serving at 5-4 for the first set, but netted a backhand to squander the opportunity.
“Yeah, was close,” Halep said. “First set I had set ball. I couldn’t finish, and then I lost a little bit of confidence and it was over.”
The 17th-ranked Ivanovic broke Halep’s serve in the first game of the second set to secure a path to the Dubai quarterfinals for a fourth time in her career.
“I think it was one of the highest quality matches I have had in maybe (the) last year,” Ivanovic said. “I knew I had it in me, so I really believed throughout.”
Muguruza seemed out of step on court throughout the match, hitting 68 unforced errors to only 28 for Svitolina. The Spaniard admitted she’s very unhappy with the start to her year, especially having to deal with left foot injuries.
“I think I’m not really ready to compete,” Muguruza said.
“I think I just need to start from zero again and kind of forget these couple of tournaments, I guess.”