Dubai Duty Free Tennis: It has been a mind-boggling week for Barbora Crazy-kova

The Czech star, runner-up here in 2021, did things that bordered on the realms of being fantastical during the tournament

By Joy Chakravarty

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Barbora Krejcikova kisses the trophy. — Photo by M Sajjad/Khaleej Times
Barbora Krejcikova kisses the trophy. — Photo by M Sajjad/Khaleej Times

Published: Sun 26 Feb 2023, 6:16 PM

What she did over the past six days at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has been so mind-boggling, it won’t seem wrong if we call her Barbora Crazy-kova.

The Czech star, runner-up here in 2021, did things that bordered on the realms of being fantastical.

Like saving four match points against Daria Kasatkina in the Round of 32, which could have eliminated her as early as Tuesday. Instead, it was the seventh seed that was sent packing.

The 12th seed Petra Kvitova was at the receiving end next. A two-time Grand Slam champion, she was no match for her compatriot that night and lost 3-6, 2-6.

If that was impressive, there was more to follow.

In the quarterfinals, Krejcikova took out the second seed and the reigning Australian Open champion, Aryna Sabalenka, ending her winning streak this year at 13 matches.

On Friday, there was no pity for third-seed Jessica Pegula, who was celebrating her 28th birthday.

And on Saturday, in the final, her giant-killing act assumed gigantic proportions. The world No.1 Iga Swiatek looked unbeatable throughout the past two weeks, but Krejcikova came out charging like a Viking on steroids, slashing her racquet to deadly effect. She stayed ultra-aggressive until the end. A series of stunning backhand and forehand winners completely subdued the world No1, and it ended in a 6-4, 6-2 win for the Olympics double gold medalist.

She became only the fifth player in the history of WTA to beat the top-three ranked players in a single tournament, a list that includes Serena and Venus Williams, and Steffi Graf.

Krejcikova, who is expected to jump to No.16 in the WTA singles ranking when it comes out on Monday, said on her achievement: “It’s a huge privilege. I don’t really follow these things much. I try to focus on tennis and on my performance.

“But definitely, it’s a big achievement and I think it will give me a lot of confidence that I can play with the best ones.

“It’s always nice to win a tournament, especially such a big tournament like Dubai. I was here in finals couple of years ago. It’s a tournament that started everything for me in singles.

“So, it’s a very, very special place. I’m definitely going to remember this. I will just try to get better again, try to get to these finals and these big matches which I love.”

Another thing that Krejcikova loves, unlike most other top professionals, is watching tennis when she is not playing. If she is not on the court, chances are she will be sitting with the fans in the bleachers, absorbing the action and trying to pick up new things that she can incorporate into her own game.

“Well, I love tennis, so I love watching it. I love all the matches. I watch the women’s match, but also the men’s matches,” said Krejcikova, who had reached No2 in the WTA Rankings after her French Open win, but slipped following her four-month injury layoff last year.

“In some of these matches I can learn a lot of things. Also, I just go there because I love watching tennis and it’s better than sitting or laying down in a bed doing nothing.”

Swiatek told the media in Dubai that she was trying to cut down her doubles schedule as she concentrated more on her singles career. However, despite her success in singles, Krejcikova has no plans to limit her doubles schedule.

“I understand why Iga is not playing. I understand because when she’s winning all the tournaments, it’s tough. I have to say that I’m not yet in that stage of winning all the tournaments on the Tour. It’s a very long way to go.,” said Krejcikova, who has seven Grand Slam doubles titles on her CV.

“I definitely love doubles. I just love playing. I really enjoy it. I want to keep going in both categories, and just try to do my best.”


> It is her first WTA 1000 title

> Her victory over world No.1 Iga Swiatek was the fourth win over a top 10 player during the week


More news from Sports