Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 19, 2024

Ostapenko overcomes Wang to celebrate Top 10 return at the 2024 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

In-form 2022 champion needed three sets to win at Dubai Tennis Stadium but ties Rybakina as player with most wins on Tour this season
Two-time Dubai winner Elina Svitolina edges second-set tie-break to move past Ukrainian compatriot Anhelina Kalinina, while Fernandez and Azarenka also progress
Tickets for this week’s WTA 1000 tournament and next week’s ATP 500 event are available now at dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com, with prices starting from Dh55

Dubai, UAE—February 19, 2024: Jelena Ostapenko celebrated her return to the world’s top-10 on Monday by overcoming Xiyu Wang, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to progress to the Round of 32.

The powerful Latvian, champion in the emirate in 2022, jumped to world No. 9 when the WTA published its latest rankings on Monday morning—her highest ranking since 2018. Yet she was made to fight by Chinese qualifier Wang, who delivered 11 aces during a match that lasted a little more than two hours.

The victory saw Ostapenko, who already has two titles in 2024 following wins in Adelaide and Linz, tie with Elena Rybakina for the most match wins on the WTA Tour this season. The 2017 French Open champion, who will face Lulu Sun in Tuesday’s second round, is not getting ahead of herself though.


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“It’s just the start of the season,” she said, smiling. “I mean, I worked really hard in pre-season. I felt like the past few years the game was kind of there, but not very consistent. Now I’m just trying to play a little bit more aggressive. It sounds funny, but in deciding moments I feel like I was not doing that the right way the past few years. I feel like now I’m doing it better.”

At last year’s WTA 1000 event, Ostapenko arrived as reigning champion yet found herself playing on side courts early in the tournament having fallen down the rankings. This year, back on centre court from the start, she channelled her growing confidence to overcome blustery conditions, and secure safe passage to the next round.

“I honestly love to play on the big courts much more than on the small courts,” she added. “I feel like that is what tennis players are there for… but you have to be consistently in the top five to get to play on the big courts. Today I was not really playing my best game, but even when it didn’t go my way, I was just trying to find my game rather than just going through the motions and missing even more. Even in very tough conditions I managed to win, so I feel like that’s what is helping to build the confidence.”

Later in the day, two-time Dubai champion Elina Svitolina also progressed to the Round of 32 after beating Ukrainian compatriot Anhelina Kalinina in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6(7), on centre court. The world No. 20 won the first set comfortably, securing 93 per cent of points on her first service and holding her serve throughout. Kalinina fought back in the second to level the set at 6-6, but a defiant Svitolina triumphed 9-7 in the tiebreak.

“It’s a great feeling to be back” said the three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, who won the Dubai title in 2017 and 2018. “I’m happy to be back in the city and back on centre court. I have so many great memories winning here twice and being back brings me a lot of joy. I’m really happy to get through the first round.”

Monday’s match marked Svitolina’s first since being forced to retire from the fourth round of the Australian Open due to a back injury, but she said she feels lucky to have managed to recover so rapidly as she prepares to take on Germany’s Tatjana Maria.

“It’s been extremely tough because I felt really good in Australia,” Svitolina added. “It was really tough mentally, but I’ve tried to bounce back quickly. I tried to find happy moments at home. I’m lucky to have my family and good people around me who helped me to be back on track quickly. To be fair, I’m really lucky to be here having recovered that quickly.”

Monday’s opening match on centre court saw two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka ease past the Netherlands’ Arantxa Rus, 6-2, 6-4, in near-perfect conditions. Azarenka’s comfortable win secured an eye-catching second-round clash with Kazakhstan’s Rybakina, the tournament’s fourth seed.

Meanwhile on Court One, Canada’s Leylah Fernandez—who enjoys strong support in Dubai on account of her Filipina lineage – dispatched American qualifier Bernarda Pera, 6-3, 6-2, in just under 80 minutes. Blocking Fernandez’s route to the third round is Italy’s Jasmine Paolini, who defeated the event’s No11 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, of Brazil, in three sets on Sunday.

The 24th edition of the annual WTA event takes place one week before the men’s event at the same venue. The women’s competition will run until February 24, before the 32nd staging of the ATP Tour 500 tournament from February 26 to March 2.

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.

Tickets for both the women’s WTA tournament and the men’s ATP event remain available to purchase at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.

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