Dubai Duty Free Tennis: Ostapenko blasts past Kudermetova to clinch title

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (centre) along with champion Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko (left) and runner-up Russia's Veronika Kudermetova after the women's final on Saturday night.

Dubai, TGO: The Latvian wins her fifth career title in singles.

Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko said that she had no other choice but to fight, fight for every point and down to the very last point. That she did over the course of the tournament knocking off a slew of Grand Slam champions.

And Ostapenko, a Grand Slam winner herself, wrote her name on the honours board of the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, coming upwith a brilliant display to clinch the title on Saturday night.

The 2017 French Open champion blasted past Russian Veronika Kudermetova 6-0, 6-4 in just 64 minutes, on Centre Court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, to lay her hands on her fifth career title, and on her fifth appearance in Dubai.

It was the 24-year-old’s 11th career final, sixth in a WTA 500 tournament, and the third in the past nine months.

Ostapenko could have inscribed her name in history too, the first to wrap a Dubai double but it was not to be as Kudermetova had some consolation, as she and her Ukrainian partner Lyudmyla Kichenok, the second seeds, won the doubles final 6-1, 6-3 in just under an hour.

She might have done the hard yards right through the tournament, who had beaten 2020 Australian Open champion American Sofia Kenin, 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek, 2011 and 2014 champion Petra Kvitova and former two-time Dubai winner Simona Halep, with the last three matches going to three sets. But that hardly showed as Ostapenko was as fit as a fiddle, except maybe her voice that had gone hoarse after all the screaming while on court.

Kudermetova did struggle with a misfiring serve at the start of the game but Ostapenko was right on the eight-ball, not giving anything away. She well and truly had a rocket fitted under her shoes as she raced away to nail the first set in just 23 minutes after breaking Kudermetova in the second, fourth and sixth games. It was probably a blink–and-you-miss kind of set as the early nerves told on Kudermetova.

Although she did manage to pull out an ace in the first set, she did have a double fault. And while Ostapenko’s first serve percentage was an astonishing 62.5 percent, Kudermetova’s was a lowly 22.2 percent.

Ostapenko had 81.3 percentage of total service points won to Kudermetova’s 27.8 percent, while the total return points won was 72.2 percent to the latter’s 18.8 percent.

Ostapenko won 26 of the 34 points, while Kudermetova won eight of 34.

Kudermetova, though, showed flashes of a fightback in the second set after breaking Ostapenko in the opening game. But she was unable to translate that after she went on to lose serve in the fourth game, which allowed Ostapenko to nullify the advantage and leave it all square at 2-2.

Kudermetova was to lose serve again in the eighth game that gave Ostapenko the perfect opportunity to serve out for the set and the championship.

But perhaps, this time, the shoe was on the other foot as the nerves told on Ostapenko as she lost her serve in the ninth game. But it was to prove to be a false dawn for Kudermetova as Ostapenko converted on the second break point to clinch the set and the title.

“I think I played really well today,” Ostapenko said on court, prior to the trophy presentation.

“In general, I’m really happy with the whole week, because there were very tough opponents I had to face every round,” she added.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match, and I went on the court very focused. I really wanted to win because I love to play in the final, but I hate to lose in the final, so I really wanted to get that title. I think my mentality was good today (Saturday) and I was playing well,” Ostapenko further added.

Meanwhile, Kudermetova said it was not her day.

“I think Jelena, she played very well today (Saturday). She played very aggressive from the beginning of the match. I think I can play better, but I don’t know why. I think today (Saturday) was not my day. I didn’t find my game,” said Kudermetova.

“Also I beat a lot of good players. It was very emotional for me. Maybe I was not ready, like, mentally for that final today (Saturday). But I hope I can take a lesson from that final and next time I will do better,” she added.