Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko
Dubai, UAE – February 23, 2023: Jelena Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok stormed back from a set down to book their place in the Doubles semi-finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for a second successive year. Rarely looking flustered, the pair rallied to overcome Zhaoxuan Yang and Vera Zvonareva 6-7, 6-2, 10-8 on Court 1 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.
Ostapenko reached the final in both Singles and Doubles in Dubai last year, but a repeat of that feat was rendered impossible earlier this week after she slipped to defeat against No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the Singles. After booking her place in Friday’s Doubles semi-final against Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova, she said she wished she could channel the mindset she applies to her Doubles game into her Singles.
In Wednesday’s match with Sabalenka, Ostapenko – the 2017 French Open Singles winner – had breezed into a first-set lead with the help of some huge cross-court forehands. Yet she struggled for momentum, allowing her opponent back into the match and managing to win just two games in the next two sets to lose 2-6, 6-1, 6-1. In her Doubles quarterfinal 24 hours later, she cut a different figure, fighting back from a set down to close out a match tie-break.
“Honestly, when I play Doubles I am super relaxed,” said Ostapenko, who reached Doubles semi-finals at both the French Open and Wimbledon last year. “Of course I care, but I don’t take it as serious as my Singles and I wish I could take that thinking to my Singles because I play so much better when I’m relaxed and not thinking too much.”
About Friday’s semi-final, Ostapenko added: “We will just try to enjoy it as much as we can; just as we did last year when we reached the final. We have good memories, myself and my partner, so it’s really great to be in the semi-finals in Doubles here in Dubai once more.”
Kudermetova and Samsonova were made to battle for their place in the semi-finals, with North American pair Leylah Fernandez and Bethanie Mattek-Sands – the latter a former Doubles winner here – showing fight after narrowly losing the first set. First serves proved the difference, with Kudermetova and Samsonova winning 68 per cent of their first serves, compared to 58 per cent for Fernandez and Mattek-Sands.
In the other semi-final, Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs beat Monica Niculescu and Kimberley Zimmermann to set up a Friday face-off with Taiwan’s Chan sisters, Hao-ching and Latisha, who had surprisingly beaten top-seeded Doubles duo Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula on Wednesday evening.
Grab Your Seats
Tickets for the 31st Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are on sale 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.