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 17 2022: Jelena Ostapenko walked a tightrope to victory at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday, scrambling her way to a 5-7 7-5 7-6 victory over former champion Petra Kvitova.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who won Dubai in 2013 and was a finalist in 2019, had upset top seed and world number two Aryna Sabalenka in the second round, and 2017 French Open winner Ostapenko beat 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek to reach the quarter-finals.
Ostapenko, who also reached the semi-finals in St Petersburg last week, twice faced elimination as the outcome remained in doubt right up until the final ball of the two hour 39 minute contest.
“The intense battle between Jelena Ostapenko and Petra Kvitova left us breathless, and we were on the edge of our seats as the momentum swung first one way and then the other,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “We congratulate Jelena Ostapenko on reaching the semi-finals here for the first time and wish Petra Kvitova well as her season continues.”
After a blistering start in which she held a point to lead 5-1, Ostapenko saw Kvitova fight back to snatch the opening set. In the second set, Kvitova broke to lead 1-0 and Ostapenko continued to struggle on her serve, at one stage clutching her hip as it appeared that her long second round match was taking its toll on her.
But then, serving at 5-4 and after being two points from victory, Kvitova double-faulted to allow her opponent to level at 5-5, and Ostapenko completed her recovery by breaking again for the set. After exchanging early breaks in the third, Kvitova broke again to lead 5-4 but again failed to serve out the match and in a marathon tiebreak Kvitova held a match point at 8-7 before Ostapenko claimed victory on her fourth match point, winning the tiebreak 11-9.
“It was a really good match. I think the level was really high,” said a relieved Ostapenko, who has now defeated three former Grand Slam winners this week. “She was playing really well today. She was especially serving well. But, yeah, I felt like when she was down, she was playing way better than when she was leading. When she was down she was, like, more focused and made more first serves in, served really better patterns. I was trying just to fight and stay in the match, believe that I can win until the very last point. I just knew I have to fight.”
“Although only one seed was able to reach the quarter-finals this week, today’s fantastic battle between Jelena Ostapenko and Petra Kvitova between two unseeded players could not have provided greater entertainment and both proved that they were worthy of a place in the quarter-finals and had fully deserved their victories this week over their seeded opponents,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.
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.