Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic advanced, while rising American Sloane Stephens came up a first-round loser Monday at the $2 million Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The former French Open champion Ivanovic, of Serbia, got past Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), while the Australian Open semifinalist Stephens succumbed to Romanian Sorana Cirstea 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 on the hardcourts at Dubai Tennis Stadium.
"Tough match," Stephens said. "She obviously played some good tennis. Today I didn't play my best tennis. Every match isn't going to go the way you want it, and obviously I got a little frustrated, but no need to dwell on it -- you just keep working hard and hanging in there and you'll be okay."
Also on Day 1, Taiwan's Su-Wei Hsieh handled American Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 6-3, Kazakhstani wild card Yulia Putintseva doused British wild card Laura Robson 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6) and wild card and former top-10 Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli overcame Czech veteran Klara Zakopalova 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Up next for Bartoli will be newly-crowned world No. 1 Serena Williams.
This week's top seeds are Victoria Azarenka and Williams. The former top-ranked Azarenka beat Williams in last week's marquee final in Doha. The Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Williams supplanted the Australian Open titlist Azarenka atop the rankings this week. Azarenka was a Dubai runner-up in 2010.
Tuesday's schedule here will feature the likes of French Open runner-up Sara Errani, former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, former U.S. Open champ Sam Stosur and former world No. 1 and 2011 Dubai champion Caroline Wozniacki.
This week's third seed, Agnieszka Radwanska, beat German Julia Goerges in last year's Dubai finale.
The 2013 Dubai champion will earn $442,198.