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 21, 2024

Swiatek books place in last eight to guarantee new name on Dubai Duty Free Tennis trophy

Dispatching Svitolina, Swiatek joins Gauff, Zheng, Vondrousova, Rybakina, Paolini, Cirstea, and Kalinskaya in quarterfinals—with none having won before in Dubai
Australian Open finalist Zheng defeated Potapova in straight sets in the final match of the night at Dubai Tennis Stadium to set up last-eight tie with World No. 1.

Dubai, UAE—February 21, 2024: World No1 Iga Swiatek saw off No15 seed and two-time former champion Elina Svitolina in the third round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday night, and in doing so guaranteed a new name will appear on the trophy at this year’s WTA 1000 tournament.

Taking her winning streak in the Middle East this month to six successive matches, Swiatek beat her Ukrainian opponent in straight sets 6-1, 6-4 to progress to the quarterfinals where she now faces Zheng. While Svitolina secured back-to-back titles here in 2017 and 2018, Swiatek, Zheng and the other six players remaining in the tournament – Coco Gauff, Sorana Cirstea, Marketa Vondrousova, Elena Rybakina, Jasmine Paolini, and Anna Kalinskaya—are all gunning for a maiden title.

Under the Centre Court lights on Wednesday, last week’s Doha champion Swiatek won seven consecutive games from 1-1 in the first set to race into a one-set lead in a little under half an hour. The two players had only met twice previously, most recently at last year’s quarterfinals stage of Wimbledon. On that occasion, it was Svitolina who came out on top, but it never looked likely in Dubai, even if the three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist showed more fight in a more balanced second set that featured five service breaks.

“I felt like she played better in the second set,” said Swiatek, who credited her own decision-making and placement as the key reasons for her victory. “It wasn’t that easy to just finish points and win points; I wanted to stay focused and proactive and kind of make decisions, but not too risky. We were both good in the longer rallies, so I needed to really push in the right time to make pressure.”

Swiatek has now won 25 of her last 26 matches and is on a 13-match winning streak against Top 20 players. Arriving fresh from completing a trio of titles in Qatar, she was asked whether the fact she has never won in the Emirates changes her approach or even provides added motivation to continue that winning streak and lift the title.

“For sure, when you’re going into the tournament and you have won it before, you feel more comfortable – you feel like you’re home,” she said. “On the other hand, it can give you more pressure. At the beginning of Doha I felt being double defending champion was pretty stressful, but when you start a tournament and you haven’t won it, you don’t really think about winning – you just think about the first match that you’re going to play and that’s all.”

That being the case, having advanced to the last eight in Dubai for the second year in a row, Swiatek’s thoughts can now turn to Australian Open finalist Zheng who she will face on Thursday. The pair have faced each other five times with Swiatek holding a flawless record against the Chinese right-hander. Yet Zheng’s progress to the final in Melbourne suggests a scintillating match may await.

“She’s progressing, but I felt like I could still play good tennis against her,” said Swiatek about their last meeting, at last month’s United Cup in Perth. “I don’t know about the Australian Open because I didn’t see any of her matches. When I lost, I just completely cut off any tennis from my life, so it’s hard for me to say. She’s at this moment in her career – everybody is when they’re 21, 22, 23 – when they’re improving a lot, so it’s normal.”

World No. 7 Zheng booked her place in the last eight by defeating Anastasia Potapova in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. Zheng has now won 26 of her last 27 matches against players outside the Top 20 with the sole loss in that time coming last week to Leylah Fernandez.

“I think my opponent played well today on the court and I just played my tennis and everything went well for me,” said the No6 seed. “Today I played the right way. When I had to attack, I attacked; when I had to defend, I defended. I’m really happy to be in the quarters for the first time in Dubai.”

A two-time winner on Tour, Zheng’s tie with Swiatek represents her third WTA 1000 quarterfinal. On the prospect of trying to get a first win over the four-time Grand Slam winner, she said: “[Iga’s] a very solid player, and always there in the match. If I’m going to beat her, I have to make it a game. She’s always tough to beat and you always have to be alert when you play against her.”

The two-week 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, which ends on Saturday, and the men’s ATP event, which runs from February 26 to March 2, remain available and can be purchased at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.

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