Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships today, citing a bone bruise in her right foot. With Azarenka out, the landscape changes a bit. There won't be another Azarenka-Williams final, for one thing. Additionally, it gives Sara Errani, Angeique Kerber and (theoretically) Sam Stosur some breathing room in the top half of the draw.
Stosur beat Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets (6-3, 6-1) today, which surprised me.
Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska is headed toward a face-off
with Petra Kvitova (assuming Kvitova maintains her Doha form). And if
she can get past Kvitova, she's ultimately headed toward a contest with
Serena Williams. That's a lot of defending.
I obviously put a hoodoo on Sloane Stephens, Varvara Lepchenko and Laura Robson. Stephens really felt the effect of it, losing her first round match against Sorana Cirstea, despite serving twice for the match and holding four match points. Lepchenko lost in the first round to a tough opponent, Hsieh Su-Wei, and wild card Robson lost to wild card Yukia Putintseva.
In Memphis, Magdalena Rybarikova and Jamie Hampton have both advanced to the quarerfinals. Rybarikova won the tournament in 2011.