Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza reached the fourth quarter-final of her impressive 2020 campaign
Second seed Karolina Pliskova moved smoothly into the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday, defeating qualifier Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 6-2. She was joined by Australian Open finalist and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, who was stretched to the limit by qualifier Veronika Kudermetova before emerging with a 7-5 4-6 6-4 victory.
Pliskova, who also beat Mladenovic at the recent Australian Open, never looked in danger of joining the seeded players who were already on the way to the airport after opening round defeats. But, despite the score suggesting her win was overwhelming, Pliskova had to keep on her toes against an aggressive opponent who produced several excellent winners.
“Although the score was easy, she was still fighting in the second set,” said Pliskova. “I think it was positive that I really stayed in because she could make it difficult for me if I don’t really stay in the match. That’s what actually happened in Australia. I think she got much better in the second set. It was also getting a little bit here. I think I made it easier for myself that I just stayed there every point.”
Having enjoyed considerable success, reaching No.1 in the rankings and a Grand Slam final at the US Open, Pliskova has great belief in her own ability.
“I think with my game, there is not really anybody who I would be super scared of because it’s mostly about me,” she said. “Of course, sometimes it can be even I play good, but I can still lose, especially to the top players, especially to the players which also have a big game. It can happen of course. I’m not saying I can’t lose. (But) I’m solid, if I am there just focus every point, I think it should not happen.”
Muguruza was never able to take full control at any stage of her two hour 25-minute battle with world No.39 Kudermetova.
“Well, I think she’s playing great,” said Muguruza. “Nowadays, even if it’s not the biggest name, every match is tough. I think she played super aggressive, super big serves. There’s a lot of things that I could have done better. But I’m excited that I gave myself another opportunity to be in the quarter-finals, just staying in the fight because she was playing great, not giving up until the last point. I’m just happy that I get these tough matches on my side. Honestly, the difference is very, very small.”
Muguruza will next play qualifier Jennifer Brady, who followed up her defeat of two-time champion Elina Svitolina by battling her way to a 4-6 6-4 6-1 victory over Marketa Vondrousova. After Vondrousova led by a set and 4-1, Brady, ranked 52, claimed the final five games of the second set and then won the last five games of the third. She will now compete in her second quarter-final of the year as a qualifier, following her impressive run last month in Brisbane where after qualifying she prevailed past both Maria Sharapova and world No.1 Ashleigh Barty before losing to Petra Kvitova.
— WTA (@WTA) February 19, 2020
“Every day we are witnessing some remarkable performances that keep us on the edge of our seat,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “The fact that Garbine Muguruza had to fight so hard today to overcome qualifier Veronika Kudermetova shows yet again the strength and depth of competition that is gathered this week in Dubai. I am sure we will enjoy many similar exciting matches in the days ahead.”
Tournament director Salah Tahlak added, “Jennifer Brady has impressed us all once again with another remarkable performance. She will clearly not be qualifying at many more tournaments as she swiftly climbs the rankings, and Garbine Muguruza will certainly not be taking her lightly in their quarter-final. It will be very interesting to see who will emerge as the winner.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which 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, begins with the WTA event which continues until 22nd February and is then followed between 24th and 29th February by the ATP tournament which features Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut.