Krejcikova stuns Swiatek to lift Dubai Tennis Championships title


Barbora Krejcikova lifts the trophy of the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship after defeating Iga Swiatek (not pictured) of Poland in the final match in Dubai on Saturday. AFP

Amir Naqvi, Sports Editor

Barbora Krejcikova stunned the world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the final to clinch her maiden Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title at the packed stadium on Saturday.

The world No. 30 from the Czech Republic took 91 minutes to beat the top-ranked Pole 6-4, 6-1 at the Centre Court and bag her sixth career crown.

“It means a lot. It was a great week, and I was improving in every game. Today I showed my best tennis,” Krejcikova said in her on court interview.

The Czech started well and showed intent after breaking twice. Swiatek, who suffered her loss in the six career WTA 1000 finals, tried her best and came back from being a break down, but that was not enough as Krejcikova got another break to take the set 6-4.

Swiatek, a three-time Grand Slam champion who arrived here after winning the Qatar Open, had dropped the first set in the previous two weeks.

Taking control of the match, Krejcikova broke her rival twice again and later served out the match.

“It’s a huge achievement,” Krejcikova added. “I was enjoying all the matches, and I love playing on big courts with the great atmosphere. I hope there’s going to be more matches like this for me,” added the former world No. 2.

Marking a dominant return, the 2021 French Open winner’s run towards the title was packed with powerful performances, which saw her fourth victory over a top-10 player at the tournament.

She started her campaign with a hard-fought win over World No. 8 Daria Kasatkina. Later, she knocked out world No. 3 Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals, and pulled an upset with a stunning win over reigning Australian Open winner and world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka.

Krejcikova became only the fifth payer, who defeated three top players at the same tournament.

Only Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Aryna Sabalenka have accomplished the rare feat of defeating top-three ranked players in the same event.

“It’s a huge privilege. I mean, I don’t really pay attention to these things. I try to focus on tennis and my performance.

“But definitely, I mean, it’s a big achievement, and I think it’s going to give me a lot of confidence that I can play with the best ones,” said the winner.

Earlier, Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova battled past sisters Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching 6-4, 6-7(4), [10-1] to win the double title in more than two hours.

The thrilling victory gave former doubles world No.2 Kudermetova her second straight Dubai title after she triumphed in last year’s final while partnering Elise Mertens.

The Russians, who joined forces only this season, won the first set only to be taken aback in the second. The Taiwanese duo of Latisha and Hao-ching gave their Russian rivals a tough time and won the set 7-6 in a tiebreak.

Bouncing back, Kudermetova and Samsonova overcame the second-set tiebreak to dominate the crucial match tiebreak 10-1 and grab the trophy.

“We try to be better Veronika and better Liuda every day,” Kudermetova said after their win. “I think if we improve, we will win many titles together.

“We’re having a good time, but we’re also nervous. Today’s final match has had a lot of ups and downs. But we managed to win this final, and we are so happy about this trophy.

“It’s always nice to defend a title, especially here in Dubai because this is a big tournament, big event. Especially with Luda, we just started to play together. Our team has a very positive atmosphere. I mean, I enjoy playing with her,” Kudermetova added.

Overall, it was Kudermetova’s sixth doubles career title, while Samsonova tasted success for the first time in her maiden doubles final.

“This is my first time, so what can I say?” Samsonova said. “It’s crazy, maybe. … It’s amazing what we did today. So proud of us.”


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