Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Dubai, UAE – February 16 2022: A day of stunning upsets at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday saw defending champion Garbine Muguruza, 2021 finalist Barbora Krejcikova, former two-time winner Elina Svitolina and sixth seed Iga Swiatek all fail to advance beyond the second round.
Top seed and world number two Aryna Sabalenka also fell, but her defeat was perhaps less of a surprise as she was beaten by former champion Petra Kvitova, who won 6-4 6-4. Ons Jabeur is now the only seed left in the tournament after she overwhelmed Jessica Pegula 6-3 6-1, although two-time former champion Simona Halep is still a strong contender for the title after she defeated qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3 6-2.
Although some might consider she is how a favourite for the title, Jabeur is aware that she is still working her way back to full fitness after a back injury meant that she had to miss the Australian Open.
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“Well, I’m going to take every match like slowly. I came back from an injury, so I want to be realistic with myself,” she said. “My main goal is to be healthy and win matches. Every match I win is a bonus. The season is still long. I don’t want to put, like, unnecessary pressure on myself. I don’t want to be disappointed after. Yeah, for now it’s working well for me. Hopefully I can continue like that.”
Jil Teichmann was the first to reach the quarter-finals as she defeated Svitolina to win 7-6 6-2. Jelena Ostapenko then took two hours 29 minutes to oust Swiatek 4-6 6-1 7-6, qualifier Dayana Yastremska beat second seeded Krejcikova 6-3 7-6 and Veronika Kudermetova overcame fourth seeded Muguruza 3-6 6-4 6-4.
“It was extraordinary to see so many seeds upset, and we congratulate the winners” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “We look forward to welcoming everyone back next year when they can bid once again for the title, and we wish them well during the remainder of the season.”
Kudermetova was thrilled to earn her first victory over Muguruza and really began to pressure her opponent after receiving off-court treatment for a painful hip midway through the second set. Having narrowly lost the first set, she broke serve at 5-4 in the second and grew in confidence as the match moved to its climax. She came under pressure just once when she fought off two break points at 4-4, and then celebrated victory when Muguruza struck three consecutive double-faults to end the contest.
Ostapenko went behind after Swiatek earned the seventh break of the first set to take it 6-4, but she stormed back in the second and surrendered just one game to level the match. The deciding set was tense after Ostapenko had continued her domination by speeding to a 3-0 lead. Swiatek levelled at 3-3, dropped her serve in a remarkable 22-point eighth game to fall behind 5-3, saved a match point at 5-4 to level again at 5-5 before Ostapenko edged the tiebreak 7-4.
Svitolina has been struggling of late and since winning her two titles in Dubai has failed to come close to repeating that success. She was the one under pressure in the first set as she twice battled to hold serve and then failed to win a point in the tiebreak. In the second set, Teichmann broke with her fourth break point of the game to lead 2-1 and from then on she progressed comfortably to victory.
Yastremska’s win over Krejcikova was also straightforward, and earned her a quarter-final meeting with fellow qualifier Marketa Vondrousova, who defeated another qualifier, Varvara Gracheva, 6-2 6-0.
“It has been a day of high drama at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, with the impressive upsets by so many underlining the incredible depth in women’s tennis,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Now, more than ever, results are unpredictable and that adds so much excitement to the tournament. The next few days will be very interesting indeed.”
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.