DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki came back from 5-1 down in the second set on Tuesday to beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-2, 7-6 (2) in the second round of the Dubai Championships.
Wozniacki, at a career-high world No. 3 ranking, rallied impressively to 5-5 then shot through the tiebreaker.
Also advancing after first-round byes were defending champion Venus Williams, second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 4 Victoria Azarenka, No. 6 Jelena Jankovic, and No. 8 Li Na. But 2008 champion Elena Dementieva had to retire with a right shoulder injury.
"I thought I was going to play a third set, so I just became a bit more aggressive and started playing with a bit more depth," Wozniacki said of her second set comeback. "I thought that was the way I would have to play the third set, which I did not have to and I am happy about that."
Next up will be Shahar Peer, who continued her notable run a year after being denied entry into the tournament because Israel had no diplomatic relations with the Emirates. A day after ousting seeded Yanina Wickmayer, Peer eliminated 2009 Dubai finalist Virginie Razzano of France 6-2, 6-2.
Peer lost badly to Wozniacki in the Australian Open third round last month but remained confident.
"I believe if I will play well tomorrow, then anything can happen," she said.
Williams, seeded second but the tournament favourite, beat Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-2, 6-3.
"I am very happy with the way I played (but) I hope to do much better in the coming rounds," Williams said.
Kuznetsova moved into the third round when Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain withdrew with a lower back injury, and Azarenka was leading U.S. Open quarterfinalist Kateryna Bondarenko 4-1 when the latter retired with a sprained left knee.
Dementieva, seeded fifth, was losing to Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 1-1 when she quit in pain.
Jankovic, who lives in Dubai, took more than two hours to account for Aravane Rezai of France 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, and Li was pushed all the way by Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain to win 7-6 (7), 2-6, 6-4.
Also through were Flavia Pennetta of Italy, Marion Bartoli of France, Vera Zvonareva of Russia, Olga Govortsova of Belarus, who beat 14th-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-4, 6-4, Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.