DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Akiko Morigami, a last-minute substitute for Maria Sharapova, collected a first-round win Tuesday at the $1.5 million Dubai Tennis Championships.
Sharapova, seeded fifth, withdrew from the tournament due to a viral illness, giving her spot in the draw to Morigami. She made the most of the chance, running past Agnes Szavay 6-1, 6-4.
That earned Morigami a second-round match against Amelie Mauresmo, who got by Anabel Medina Garrigues 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 in her first-rounder.
In other first-round matches, Sybille Bammer defeated Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (8-6), 6-3; Nicole Vaidisova swept by Aiko Nakamura 6-3, 6-0; Sania Mirza beat Vera Dushevina 7-6 (7-5), 6-2; Katarina Srebotnik was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Nadia Petrova, and Lucie Safarova knocked out Ai Sugiyama 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The tournament top four seeds -- the top four ranked women's players in the world -- were given first-round byes and open their Dubai play Wednesday.
The 2008 Dubai champion will earn $250,000.