Just a day after Victoria Azarenka, top seed at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, withdrew from the tournament, second seed Serena Williams also decided to leave before even starting her opening match, citing back pain that she said had been bothering her for a couple of weeks, and now the tournament's third seed and titleholder Agnieszka Radwanska has a considerably easier draw, especially given that she's constantly losing to Azarenka, and she's never beaten Williams in their four meetings.
Today Radwanska advanced in straight sets against 18-year-old world No.101 Yulia Putintseva, but only after coming back from a break down three times in the first set and once in the second set before winning 7-5 6-3. It was a tricky introductory match for the Pole, who was playing the young Kazakh for the first time.
The only seed to lose on Wednesday in Dubai was Angelique Kerber, who made ten double faults in her 7-5 6-1 loss to Roberta Vinci. Fifth seed Sara Errani beat Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-4, sixth seed Petra Kvitova overcame battling Ana Ivanovic 7-5 7-6(1) and will play Radwanska in the quarterfinals, seventh seed Samantha Stosur defeated Su-Wei Hsieh 6-4 6-0, while eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki routed Zheng Jie 6-0 6-1 and will next face Marion Bartoli, who received a walkover when Serena withdrew. (photo: Ralf Reinecke)