Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Simona Halep in quarterfinal action at the the 2022 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday.
Dubai, UAE – February 17 2022: Jelena Ostapenko walked a tightrope to victory at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday, scrambling her way to a 5-7 7-5 7-6 win over former champion Petra Kvitova. She will now face 2015 and 2020 champion Simona Halep, who ended the hopes of eighth seed Ons Jabeur by winning 6-4 6-3.
The second semi-final will feature Veronika Kudermetova who beat Jil Teichmann 6-2 5-7 6-4 in another lengthy battle, and qualifier Marketa Vondrousova, who defeated Dayana Yastremska 7-5 6-4. Vondrousova is only the third qualifier to reach the semi-finals, after Rachel McQuillan in 2001 and Jennifer Brady in 2020 and, at 146, Yastremska is the lowest ranked player to ever reach the Dubai quarter-finals.
Ostapenko, who also reached the semi-finals in St Petersburg last week, twice faced elimination as the outcome remained in doubt right up until the final ball of the two hour 39 minute contest.
“The intense battle between Jelena Ostapenko and Petra Kvitova left us breathless, and we were on the edge of our seats as the momentum swung first one way and then the other,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “The other quarter-finals also provided wonderful entertainment, and we congratulate all today’s winners and eagerly look forward to discovering who will qualify for Saturday’s final.”
More: Photos: 2022 Women’s Quarterfinals
After a blistering start in which she held a point to lead 5-1, Ostapenko saw Kvitova fight back to snatch the opening set. In the second set, Kvitova broke to lead 1-0 and Ostapenko continued to struggle on her serve, at one stage clutching her hip as it appeared that her long second round match was taking its toll on her.
But then, serving at 5-4 and after being two points from victory, Kvitova double-faulted to allow her opponent to level at 5-5, and Ostapenko completed her recovery by breaking again for the set. After exchanging early breaks in the third, Kvitova broke again to lead 5-4 but again failed to serve out the match and in a marathon tiebreak Kvitova held a match point at 8-7 before Ostapenko claimed victory on her fourth match point, winning the tiebreak 11-9.
“It was a really good match. I think the level was really high,” said a relieved Ostapenko, who has now defeated three former Grand Slam winners this week. “She was playing really well today. She was especially serving well. I was trying just to fight and stay in the match, believe that I can win until the very last point. I just knew I have to fight.”
Halep had to fight hard too for her victory in a contest that showcased exquisite skills from both players. Although she built a 5-2 lead Halep struggled to close out the set against a resilient opponent, double-faulting on break point while under pressure as she served at 5-3 but earning her third and decisive break of the set in the next game.
Jabeur responded by taking a 2-0 lead in the second set but Halep fought back to win the next five games to lead 5-2 before closing out the match.
“I’m really pleased with the match,” said Halep. “I think I played a good tennis. I was super strong on the legs. I knew that she’s changing the rhythm a lot. It’s never easy to actually find the rhythm during the match. I think I did well and I’m really happy that I could win against a tough opponent.”
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Jabeur feels her fitness isn’t yet back to the level she would like after an injury kept her out of the Australian Open, but she was able to take some positives from the week.
“I think, I mean, physically I’m trying to come back. It’s not easy to not be 100% with Simona playing at this level,” she said. “So, yeah, I think the main key for me was physically I think I wasn’t strong enough on my legs. Breathing-wise, moving-wise was not so good. Yeah, she was much better than me. I mean, it’s completely normal. I understand. I just want to keep positive. I don’t like to lose like this, but first tournament after injury, so I really am glad that I at least won two matches here.”
“Although only one seed was able to reach the quarter-finals this week, today’s fantastic battle between Jelena Ostapenko and Petra Kvitova between two unseeded players could not have provided greater entertainment,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Simona Halep and Ons Jabeur also produced some wonderful tennis, and we also congratulate Veronika Kudermetova and Marketa Vondrousova on reaching the semi-finals.”
The WTA event continues until 19th February, and then between 21st and 26th February the tournament celebrates the 30th anniversary of the ATP Tour 500 tournament when world number one Novak Djokovic will be bidding for his sixth Dubai title.
For ticket information, visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/tickets/
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.