x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Dubai Tennis Open: Live from the women's championships

Get the latest from the third round action as well as the sidelines from the courts at the Aviation Club.

Alisa Kleybanova has a clinic with youngsters.
Alisa Kleybanova has a clinic with youngsters.

Staff update:

Russian Anna Chakvetadze collapsed on court and had to retire from her match with top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki at the Dubai Championships on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old was serving for the second set at 5-3 when she fainted during the third point, according to Associated Press.

She was given extensive medical treatment during a seven minute delay and returned for one more point before forfeiting the match and tearfully hugging Wozniacki.

Organisers said Chakvetadze, who lost the first set 6-1, had a stomach illness.

Ahmed Rizvi adds:

12.35pm: The third day of the Dubai Tennis Championship has got underway with Vera Zvonareva, the world No 3, taking on Roberta Vinci.

The fans, however, are still conspicuous by their absence. A couple of hundred were in the stands as Zvonareva started the game.

There were a lot more last night, though, when Ana Ivanovic played Patty Schnyder on centre court.

Sania Mirza followed and her loyal band of Indian fans stayed behind to cheer her on. Mirza will be playing her second round match, against Ayumi Morita, on Court 3 later today and a few fans are already assembling there.

On Centre Court, Zvonareva will be followed by the third seed Francesca Schiavone, who meets Shuai Zhang.

Samantha Stosur, the fourth seed, will then take on Sara Errani before the top seed and world No 2 Caroline Wozniacki squares-off against Anna Chakvetadze in the feature match, starting at 7pm.

12.00 noon: The Dubai Men’s Tennis Championships, already missing world No 1 Rafael Nadal and No 4 Robin Soderling, has suffered another blow with the latest announcement that Andy Murray has pulled out of the tournament citing injury.

Murray, who lost the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic and was  dumped out by Marcos Baghdatis in Rotterdam last week, announced the decision on his website.

“Andy would like to apologise to both the tournament and its fans,”  read the statement on his website. A word from the organisers is awaited.

Kleybanova hopeful of tennis surge in the UAE

Ahmed Rizvi adds:

11.50 am: Tennis Emirates have been in an overdrive over the last couple of years as they seek home-grown talents to flaunt on the world stage. Alisa Kleybanova, the world No 22, believes that day is not far.

The Russian was left impressed after a coaching clinic with around 30 aspiring youngsters, during which she worked on their grips and played a few rallies with them.

“Wow, there are some great players here,” said Kleybanova, who will be squaring-off against Jarmila Groth in a second round match later in the day. “I’m sure the UAE will soon have some great home-grown stars competing here at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.”

Mirza not sure if she can do a Clijsters

Ahmed Rizvi starts off the day with this update from the sidelines:

11.40 am: Kim Clijsters took two years away from the game to raise a family, but has come back to win three grand slams and the year-ending Tour Championship. She has also risen to the top of the rankings.

India's Sania Mirza, who got married last April, is in awe of the Belgian's achievement and does not see herself returning to the court after having a baby.

"I think it's amazing for tennis to have Kim as the No 1 in the world," said Mirza, who ied the knot with ex-Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik in a high-profile marriage that made the headlines in the sub-continent. "Not just as a tennis player, but I think she's a great ambassador for the game and a great personality and a great person off the court as well.

"Obviously that just shows that hard work can get you anywhere, whether that's tennis or anything. As far as I'm concerned, personally I don't know if I could do it after having a baby.

"Yeah, it's been almost a year since I've been married. Still don't feel married, so I guess that's a good thing. We still feel like it's pretty new. He's (Shoaib) here for a few days, so it's really good."