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 14-26, 2022
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
FEBRUARY 14-26, 2022
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 18, 2022

Ostapenko To Play Kudermetova In Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Final

jelena ostapenko

Jelena Ostapenko celebrates after defeating Simona Halep in the women's singles semifinals at the 2022 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Dubai, UAE – February 18 2022: Jelena Ostapenko earned a stunning victory over two-time former champion Simona Halep to reach the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday, and will play Veronika Kudermetova who received a walkover when Marketa Vondrousova forfeited her semi-final due to a right adductor injury.

Ostapenko had previously won just two matches in her previous five appearances in Dubai, but the 2017 French Open winner has now overcome four other former Grand Slam champions this week, beating Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova before claiming a 2-6 7-6 6-0 win over Halep.

“We congratulate both Jelena Ostapenko and Veronika Kudermetova on reaching the final,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “Ostapenko’s success here means that she will return to the top 20 next week for the first time since October 2018, and Kudermetova has also earned wins over two former Grand Slam winners and world number ones this week, beating both Victoria Azarenka and our defending champion, Garbine Muguruza. We can now look forward to what is certain to be a very interesting final.”

Halep had seemed to be in control as she comfortably took the first set, surrendering just five points on serve and closing out the set with an ace. Ostapenko responded by reducing her errors, becoming more aggressive and taking a 3-0 lead in the second set, and although Halep managed to level at 3-3 Ostapenko continued to raise her level.

With Ostapenko leading 6-5, Halep was forced to save two set points on her serve as the set went to a tiebreak, which Ostapenko astonishingly took 7-0 before then sweeping the final set 6-0 in just 21 minutes as Halep crumpled in the face of Ostapenko’s confident assault.

“Again, playing a Grand Slam champion fourth match in a row, it’s not easy,” said Ostapenko. “She was playing completely different tennis from what Petra (Kvitova, her quarter-final opponent) was playing. She was playing much slower, almost no pace comparing to Petra. So I really had to step in from the beginning, which I didn’t do. I was stepping back. I didn’t go into the court. When I understood it and changed things, so it started to go my way.

“I knew I have to play aggressive no matter what, no matter what the score is. She really doesn’t like to play against players who are playing aggressive and take time away from her. I really knew that I have to do it today, all the match, even if I miss sometimes, which I did. I think it helped me to win.”

Halep admitted she let the match get away from her, but she still has positive thoughts about her week.

“I kind of stopped playing after the second set,” she said. “That is the only one moment that I’m disappointed. But the rest I think was a good game. I lost the focus a little bit. Probably I need more matches in tension to get more used to it. I just mentally stopped playing and I didn’t make anything anymore.

“I’m happy with the week I played here. The game was good. Everything was good. I never expect to win all the matches because it’s just the beginning of the year and I’m really patient with myself.”

Vondrousova revealed that she had been feeling uncomfortable before having to withdraw from the tournament.

“The injury, it started a few days ago and I’ve played so many matches here which has aggravated the injury,” she said. “I’m really sad to leave the tournament this way but I’ve still enjoyed a great week and proud of how I’ve played. I’ve played six amazing matches this week having come through qualifying and proud of my performances so it’s unfortunate this has happened.”

“Jelena Ostapenko has produced yet another incredible fighting performance this week to rightfully take her place in the final,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Both she and Veronika Kudermetova have provided great entertainment and now we look forward to seeing which player will win the trophy for the first time.”

The WTA event concludes on 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.

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