🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R1 Preview 🇮🇹 (Q) Sara Errani vs 🇺🇦 (Q) Lesia Tsurenko
2016 Dubai champion Sara Errani will be back in action on Tuesday where she comes up against the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in the opening round of the main draw. Errani and Tsurenko both navigated their way through a tough qualifying draw in Dubai to reach the main draw. Both bring good momentum into this match and both will see this as a very winnable opening round match-up. It will be interesting to see who steps up and makes the most of this opportunity.
Sara Errani has a surprisingly great record in Dubai. Errani won the tournament in 2016 and reached the final of the event in 2013. The Italian’s ranking is still well outside the top 100 right now so she knows that every match is important as she looks to build her ranking back up into the top 100. Errani cruised past Shuko Aoyama and Bernarda Pera in the first few rounds of the qualifying draw before fighting form 1-4 down in the deciding set to defeat Aryna Sabalenka, a huge win for Errani against a very strong opponent.
Lesia Tsurenko’s progressions through the qualifying draw in Dubai was a bit of a roller-coaster rise. Tsurenko looked down and out against Ying-Ying Duan in the opening round when she trailed by a set and a double break, the Ukrainian fought back, saving match points to win in 3 sets. Tsurenko then cruised past Ons Jabeur and Zarina Diyas to secure her spot in the main draw.
The head-to-head record between the par is split at 1 win apiece. Errani beat Tsurenko in straight sets at the Rogers Cup in 2015 whilst more recently Tsurenko beat Errani 6-4 6-3 in Indian Wells in 2016.
🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R1 Preview 🇪🇪 Annett Kontaveit vs 🇨🇿 Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova enters the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Championships as the form player in the draw. Kvitova will begin her Dubai campaign on Tuesday with an opening round clash against Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit. Kvitova is on a 13-match winning streak having won back-to-back titles in St. Petersburg and Doha. Kvitova has beaten 5 top 10 players in the last couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see if Kvitova can carry that from into Dubai or will she run out of steam?
Annett Kontaveit arrives in Dubai in totally contrasting form to Kvitova. Kontaveit was thrashed by Alize Cornet in the opening round in Doha last week, beaten 2-6 1-6. Prior to that Kontaveit was involved in Estonia’s unsuccessful bid to reach the Fed Cup world group 2 playoffs. A disappointing few weeks for Kontaveit after a positive round of 16 result at the Australian Open last month.
Petra Kvitova is back to her best. The former Dubai champion is on a 13-match winning streak after displaying blistering tennis to win the Qatar Total Open last week. Kvitova came through an extremely tough draw to win her 22nd career title. Kvitova’s route to the title included wins over Radwanska, Svitolina, Goerges, Wozniacki and Muguruza. Petra came from a set down on 3 occasions, against Radwanska in the second round where she was down a set and a break and the same scenario against Wozniacki in the semi-final. Kvitova clinched the title with a hard-fought 3-6 6-3 6-4 win over Garbine Muguruza.
It was Kvitova who won the only previous match between the pair, a 1-6 7-6 6-3 victory
🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Final Preview: 🇺🇦 (7) Elina Svitolina vs 🇩🇰 (10) Caroline Wozniacki
Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final promises to be an intriguing contest when Elina Svitolina comes up against Caroline Wozniacki. Svitolina and Wozniacki are just about as evenly matched as it gets, the pair play very similarly, having the same strengths and weaknesses, meaning every single point will be hard-fought in this match-up. Svitolina and Wozniacki are both in great form entering this final, Svitolina is on an 11 match winning streak after winning her first title of the year in Taipei City whilst Wozniacki has won 9 of her last 10 matches after reaching the final in Doha last week.
🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, SF Preview: (1) 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs (7) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina
Angelique Kerber and Elina Svitolina will renew hostilities on Friday when they collide in the second semi-final of the day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. There is a lot at stake, firstly this is a premier 5 semi-final, secondly Kerber is two wins away from reclaiming the number 1 ranking and thirdly Elina Svitolina is just two wins away from reaching the top 10 for the first time in her career. Svitolina has won the last two matches between the pair, Kerber will head into this match desperate for revenge, this should be a good one between two very evenly matches opponents.
🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, SF Preview: (10) 🇩🇰 Caroline Wozniacki vs 🇱🇻 Anastasija Sevastova
Caroline Wozniacki is through to a sixth consecutive semi-final in Dubai. The 2011 champion has lost four consecutive semi-finals in Dubai but will be a strong favourite to reverse that trend when she comes up against Anastasija Sevastova in Friday’s first semi-final, a rematch of the 2016 U.S Open quarter-final. Wozniacki has played a huge amount of tennis in the last couple of weeks having reached the Doha final last week, Wozniacki has completed nine matches in nine days! Perhaps Sevastova will have a chance to claim her first win over Wozniacki given the Dane’s heavy recent schedule.
🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, QF Preview: (1) 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs 🇭🇷 Ana Konjuh
Thursday’s fourth and final quarter-final of the day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships promises to be the most intriguing clash of the day when world number 2 Angelique Kerber faces the rapidly improving Ana Konjuh. Kerber has finally found some decent form in Dubai and has huge motivation to win the title this week as she will return to the number 1 ranking if she can go all the way in Dubai. Kerber will face a tough test on Thursday night against the extremely talented Ana Konjuh, an opponent whose best tennis is good enough to beat anyone. Kerber will be wary heading into this one.
2012 Dubai Duty Free Champion Agnieszka Radwanska will continue her 2017 Dubai campaign on Wednesday evening when she comes up against young American Catherine Bellis at the third round stage. Radwanska is a clear favourite heading into this match, arguably the biggest challenge for Bellis in her young career. Radwanska hasn’t made an ideal start to 2017, a deep run in Dubai and challenging for the title would be highly beneficial as the Pole looks to climb back into the top 5.
Angelique Kerber and Monica Puig will do battle for the first time since their Gold medal match at the Rio Olympics last year. Monica Puig famously overcame the German in the final to claim the biggest win of her career and won the first Olympic Gold medal for Puerto Rico. Puig has failed to fire since her Rio heroics whilst Kerber has started 2017 in a slump, this is a vital match for both ladies and could have a big impact moving forward.
Tuesday’s match of the day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships sees the third seeded Dominika Cibulkova open her tournament against the always-dangerous Ekaterina Makarova. Dominika Cibulkova will head into this match desperate for revenge after she was beaten by Makarova in an agonizingly close three set match at the third round stage of the Australian Open earlier this year. Cibulkova was extremely disappointed after that match, feeling like she should have won it and she will carry those emotions into Tuesday’s clash with the Russian.
Angelique Kerber will look to get her season back on track in Dubai after another disappointing early round exit in Doha last week. Kerber started the season as the world number 1 with the tennis world watching to see how she will handle the new pressures and expectations placed on her this season. Unfortunately, the answer has been that she has been unable to deal with it, amassing a modest 4-4 win/loss record to start 2017. Kerber should be desperate to avoid an upset loss to compatriot Mona Barthel in second round action on Tuesday in Dubai. Kerber could regain her number 1 ranking if she was to win the tournament this week.