Agnieszka Radwanska’s chances to repeat as champion of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships got better as Serena Williams has dropped out of the tournament.
Williams joined Victoria Azarenka who pulled out earlier in the week. A back injury forced world number one Williams out of the tournament while a foot problem stopped Azarenka, the number two ranked player.
Radwanska, world ranked no. 4, had to come from behind to defeat the 101 ranked Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-5 6-3.
"For me, the first match is always a bit tricky," said Radwanska, 23."I didn't hit on the center court here this year, and I was just practicing outside - it was actually much faster. I was surprised - the ball is just not going anywhere."
Next up for Radwanska will be Czech Petra Kvitova, who beat Ana Ivanovic 7-5 7-6. The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships continue with the women’s final on Feb. 23.