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Cornet outlasts Flipkens to reach 2nd round in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Alize Cornet raced through the first set in 20 minutes, then needed nearly 3 hours for the next two before outlasting Kirsten Flipkens 6-0, 6-7 (6), 6-3 in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Sunday.

The 16th-seeded Cornet, a finalist in Dubai last year, paid the price for using up all of her challenges in the second set, as she lost a crucial point at 6-6 in the tiebreaker when her shot was called out. She had no challenges left, but TV replays confirmed the ball landed firmly on the line — and would have given her match point.

After losing the tiebreaker, Cornet had words with the lineperson who missed the call as well as with the chair umpire.

“I was two points to the end of the match, I cannot make it,” Cornet said. “You know what I told the umpire? I told her, ‘When you will see the replay, you will think of me.'”

Flipkens took a 3-0 lead in the third set before Cornet came storming back to win the final six games of the match.

Earlier, wild-card entry Flavia Pennetta of Italy saved four match points in the second set before pulling off a 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Julia Goerges of Germany.

The 10th-seeded Pennetta trailed 5-2 in the second set but held serve and went on to close out the set with an ace in the tiebreaker.

Pennetta led 4-1 in the decider before Goerges briefly rallied.

Sabine Lisicki of Germany served 16 aces to win her first singles match in 2015, beating Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-3, 6-4.

“I obviously had three tough losses at the beginning of the year, all tough three-setters, and you always want to get the first win of the year and I did finally,” said Lisicki, who finished with three straight aces.

The 12th-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia outlasted Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, while former Grand Slam champions Samantha Stosur of Australia and Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia also advanced.

Stosur won 6-3, 6-1 over Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, while Kuznetsova went through when Kaia Kanepi of Estonia retired with a lower back injury when trailing 4-1.

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