Top eight seeds all go marching out
All eight seeds crumbled failing to make the quarterfinals on the third day of the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open at a rain-marred day at the Dubai Tennis Stadium in the early hours of Thursday.
On a bizarre day of upsets, top seed and defending champion Simona Halep - one of the three wild cards this year - went down in straight sets 6-7 (2), 26 against former world number one Ana Ivanovic, while second seed and last year's semi-finalist Garbine Muruguza of Spain fell to Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 7-6, 6-3 in a match that lasted seven minutes short of two hours. Third seed Carla Suarez Navarro could not withstand the barrage of baseline shots from French youngster Caroline Garcia as she went down 6-4, 46, 6-3 in a marathon match that was interrupted by rain when Garcia was just three points away from possibly the biggest win of her career.
She returned nearly four hours later to finish off her win and earn the right to meet Andrea Petkovic in the last eight stages.
Fourth seed Kvitova, who won the title here in 2013 defeating Sara Errani in three sets, got off to a quick start but ran out of steam and ideas as she caved in 6-0, 6-7, 3-6 against Madison Brengle, the last of the Americans in the draw. The rain delay of nearly four hours forced organisers to re-schedule matches with three of the encounters going on till 12.45 am. The remaining four seeds had fallen on the second day of the competition on Tuesday.
Last Sunday's champion at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy and seventh seed, Roberta Vinci had been joined by fellow finalist and fifth seed Belinda Bencic on the flight back after being knocked out by Yaroslava Shvedova and Jelena Jankovic.
Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova had gone down to CoCo Vandeweghe in straight sets, and eighth seeded veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova had lost to German girl Julia Goerges in straight sets.