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

14TH FEBRUARY – 27TH FEBRUARY 2021
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
14TH FEBRUARY – 27TH FEBRUARY 2021
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 17, 2020

Strycova strikes to claim “crazy” Dubai opener

Barbora Strycova

Barbora Strycova was the 2016 Dubai singles finalist and is the reigning champion in doubles alongside Su-Wei Hsieh

Former finalist Barbora Strycova battled her way into the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday with a 7-6(3) 2-6 6-4 win over Amanda Anisimova.

Anisimova, who defeated defending champion and world No.3 Simona Halep in straight sets to reach the 2019 French Open semi-finals, has experienced both success and disappointment in 2020. The 18-year-old reached the Auckland semi-finals where she lost to Serena Williams, before falling to an opening round defeat at the Australian Open.

Seeking to re-ignite her promising career, Anisimova responded magnificently to losing a fiercely fought opening set, and once she had jumped to a 5-0 lead in the second set and a 3-1 lead in the third it appeared as if the American was on her way to victory. But Wimbledon semi-finalist Strycova dug deep and surrendered just four points in the final three games.

“It wasn’t really a great match from both sides,” said world No.35 Strycova “It’s really tough conditions over here and the ball is flying everywhere. But I was really happy to keep the ball in the court.

“I was talking to myself, a lot in the third set, telling myself to keep fighting, to keep spinning the ball and keep moving my legs. I was only confident from 3-3 in the final set, it was a really tough match for me and I’m very happy to be in the second round.”

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Qiang Wang, who produced arguably the biggest upset of the Australian Open by defeating Serena Williams in the third round before losing to Ons Jabeur, failed to advance beyond the first round as she was crushed 6-3 6-0 by Elise Mertens. The Belgian won the last 10 games and dropped just one point on serve in the second set.

The qualifying competition was also completed on Monday, with six players advancing to the main draw together with a lucky loser after Kiki Bertens withdrew due to her lengthy run in St. Petersburg that netted her a 10th career title.

Strycova
Strycova celebrates booking a second round encounter with Petra Martic or her doubles partner Su-Wei Hsieh

Kristina Mladenovic and Aliaksandra Sasnovich will play to see who faces second seed Karolina Pliskova in the second round. Veronika Kudermetova will tackle Dayana Yastremska, Sorana Cirstea faces Anett Kontaveit, Jennifer Brady will play former two-time champion and third seed Elina Svitolina and Kristina Siniakova will play Karolina Muchova The lucky loser is Su-Wei Hsieh, who last year enjoyed a run to the semi-finals, and she plays eighth seed Petra Martic.

“We have already enjoyed a thrilling battle between and Barbora Strycova and Amanda Anisimova, and an excellent performance from Elise Mertens” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “With so many of the best players in the world competing we can expect many more exciting matches in the coming days.”

Tournament director Salah Tahlak added, “The qualifying draw has now been completed, and with those players having grown used to the courts and conditions they will certainly pose a threat to whoever they play. Such is the strength of competition that 2019 semi-finalist Su-Wei Hsieh failed to qualify this year, but was able to receive a place in the main draw as a lucky loser. We wish all of them well.”

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 runs from 17th to 22nd February and then continues between 24th and 29th February with the ATP tournament which features Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Roberto Bautista Agut.

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