?? Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R2 Preview
?? (4) Jelena Ostapenko vs ?? Elena Vesnina
Jelena Ostapenko will kickstart her 2018 Dubai Duty Free Tennis championships campaign on Wednesday with a second round clash against Russia’s Elena Vesnina. As the 4th seed in Dubai Ostapenko received a bye into the second round whilst Vesnina earned her spot in the second round with a straight set win over Shuai Peng. Ostapenko has failed to fire in 2018, the world number 7 will be keen to avoid another early round exit in 2018 and will be wary of Vesnina who won the only previous match between the pair.
Ostapenko has won back-to-back matches in 2018 on just 1 occasion and has an overall 3/5 win/loss record at tour level events this year. Clearly it has not been the start to the season Ostapenko was hoping for but perhaps it was to be expected as Ostapenko did have a long 2017 season and an interrupted off-season. Ostapenko was thrashed in her opening round match in Doha last week, beaten by Mihaela Buzarnescu 1-6 3-6, a very bad loss for the Latvian star. There was some positives for Ostapenko last week in Doha as she did win the doubles title alongside Gabriela Dabrowski.
Elena Vesnina has also generally made a poor start to the season. Vesnina arrived in Dubai with just 2 wins to her name and a mountain of points to defend in a few weeks’ time in Indian Wells where she is the defending champion. Vesnina made a decent start to her Dubai campaign on Monday as she beat Shuai Peng 6-4 7-5. It certainly wasn’t the highest quality match but Vesnina always seemed to have the slight edge and was good enough to get the job done in a couple of tight sets.
Vesnina defeated Ostapenko 7-5 6-0 on clay in Madrid in 2016 in what is their only previous clash. Clearly a lot has changed since then, but given Ostapenko’s recent troubles, Vesnina will fancy her chances to maintain a perfect record against the Latvian.