Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic fires a return during her win over Angelique Kerber in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, 18 February. Reuters

Seeded players Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki progressed to the next round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Serena Williams took on Ekaterina Makarova for the first time after last month's loss against Ivanovic in the fourth round of the Australian open. Serena's been nursing a back injury ever since.

Russia's Makarova managed to challenge Serena in the first set whereas the American took the match 7-6, 6-0 to move further in the tournament.

"I was really telling myself to stay positive, because I was making a lot of errors that I normally don't make, and my serve just wasn't popping the way it normally is. I was just really trying to get in the rhythm," said the last year's French and US Open champion.

Serena will be looking forward to the upcoming matches since she has never won the Dubai Open before.

Ivanovic might have recently beaten the world no. 1 player, but, she had to work hard to beat the sixth seed Angelique Kerber. The former world no. 1, Ivanovic, was under a lot of pressure before beating her opponent 3-6, 6-3, 7-6.

"It was a great match in the end and the support from my fans means a lot to me," Ivanovic said. The Serbian will face Venus Williams in the next round. Their previous encounter was in Auckland last month when Ivanovic won it following a closely-fought battle.

"She's such a tough competitor, and she retrieves lots of balls. You just have to win points over and over again," Ivanovic said of her next opponent.

In other matches played so far, 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki lost in the first round to Wozniacki 6-2, 3-6, 3-6. Wozniacki has reportedly said that she's more excited about her wedding with golfer Rory McIlroy at present.

Meanwhile, Sania Mirza along with her Zimbabwean doubles partner Cara Black crashed out of the Dubai Open in the first round. The duo lost 6-7, 7-5, 9-11 to Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Safarova. In her previous two appearances at the Dubai Open, Sania had reached the finals. This year, however, the luck did not continue.