Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
2022 runner-up Veronika Kudermetova made an early exit from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday.
Dubai, UAE – February 19, 2023: The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships sprung numerous surprises on day two, as 10th seed Veronika Kudermetova and No.11 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia tumbled out of the tournament in the first round.
In the day’s opening match on Centre Court, Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, the world No.70, recorded the biggest shock of the women’s WTA 1000 event so far when she battled back from a set down, and saved two match points in the second set to prevail, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4, against 11th seed Maia.
The first eight games of match went with serve in a back-and-forth encounter, before Maia turned on the power to break in game nine before holding serve to take the first set. The second set mirrored the first with minima openings for either player. In the tiebreak, Maia looked on course for victory until Cirstea found something extra, saved match point and turned the tables to force a deciding set.
Unflustered at missing chances to close the match, Maia raced into a 4-1 lead before a resurgent Cirstea won five games in a row to seal a memorable victory. At 3hr 29 mins on court, the pair delivered the 2023 WTA season’s longest match.
“I wasn’t planning to break the record to be honest. I fought really hard today and have nothing left,” said an exhausted but delighted Cirstea. “Beatriz played amazing and sometimes tennis is not fair. You play for three and a half hours and the difference is a point. “But this is tennis, I’m happy to come out on the winning side and I’m proud of the way I fought. This is what tennis is all about.
Over on Court One, No.10 seed Veronika Kudermetova, last year’s beaten finalist, also made an early exit from the Championships, losing in three sets to Anhelina Kalinina. In another match lasting more than three hours, Kalinina won the first set 6-3, before 10th seeded Kudermetova turned the momentum by taking the second set 7-5.
Kalinina, however, refused to crumble and came firing back, breaking her opponent’s serve three times in the third set before serving out the match. She will now play Dayana Yastremska in the second round.
Grab Your Seats
Tickets for the 31st edition of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are on sale now at dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com, starting from Dh55. Tickets are also available at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium Box Office between 9am and 9pm daily. The Championships starts with the 23rd staging of the WTA event, which runs until February 25, before the 31st staging of the ATP Tour 500 tournament from February 26 to March 4. Both events carry equal prize money.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.