Despite being a Premier 5 event dubai duty free Tennis Championship should have been merely a preparation for the North American hardcourt swing. But for a certain group of WTA players, to aim big in Dubai could have been more lucrative. If Angelique Kerber wins the title, starting from next Monday she'll regain the world no. 1 spot in the WTA ranking.

For Dominika Cibulkova, a good run in Dubai could have earned her the right amount of point to get in front of Simona Halep, and therefore to step inside the top 4 WTA for the first time in her career. But her ambitions were terminated at the end of a 3 sets battle against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.

The match.

As the 3rd seed in Dubai, Cibulkova went into this match with so many expectations. But the Russian, a former WTA top 10 player, had something else in her mind. As the first set unfolded, Cibulkova lost the strings allowing to the Russian to put in her own pace. Makarova sealed the opening set by 6-2.

Being under pressure, the Slovak bounced back and kept her head above the water waiting for a sign of weakness from her opponent. While serving to stay in the 2nd set, the Russian made some errors and Cibulkova immediately pushed harder converting the 2nd set point she had. All seemed to go on the Slovak player's side as she captured a 2-0 lead in the decisive act. Even so, being a break down, Makarova did not surrender.

She won the next 6 games of the 3rd set in a stunning manner putting on hold Cibulkova's high hopes for the moment.

Kerber must be thrilled

The biggest danger on Kerber's half of the draw is now out of the equation. The German can now rethink her strategy. She is set to play against Mona Barthel in her opening match.

Also, in the 2nd round, Monica Puig, a gold medalist in Rio, got past Caroline Garcia. If Kerber will beat Barthel then we'll be witnessing a rematch of the Summer Olympics' final. Last summer, despite being a low ranked player, Monica Puig did the perfect run in clinching a gold medal in women's singles.

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