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Dubai Duty Free Tennis: Ostapenko dismantles Halep to enter final

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko makes a return against Romania's Simona Halep during the semifinal on Friday. — AFP
Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko makes a return against Romania's Simona Halep during the semifinal on Friday. — AFP

Dubai - The Latvian will take on Russian Veronika Kudermetova after qualifier Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova withdrew from the other semifinal due to a right adductor injury



by

James Jose

Published: Fri 18 Feb 2022, 7:01 PM

Jelena Ostapenko thwarted Simona Halep’s bid for a third title in Dubai by winning their semifinal match-up in the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday night.

The Latvian rallied brilliantly from a set down to defeat the 2015 and 2020 champion 2-6, 7-6 (0), 6-0 on Centre Court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.

Ostapenko nudged ahead in their head-to-head meetings to two wins from three matches. The pair had met in the French Open final in 2017 with Ostapenko coming through a three-setter against the Romanian for her first and only Grand Slam title.

Ostapenko will now take on Russian Veronika Kudermetova in the final after the Russian’s opponent qualifier Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova withdrew from the other semifinal due to a right adductor injury.

Ostapenko began all guns blazing, asking questions, with some quick returns trying to put Halep off her game. And it went on serve but it wasn’t to last long as Halep grew into the game. She managed to get the crucial break in a long drawn fifth game and then broke her again in the seventh. And Halep served out for the set in style, with a crisp ace down the middle, to have it all wrapped up in just 26 minutes.

But that wasn’t to rattle Ostapenko as she came up with a brilliant riposte in the second set. The Latvian put the skates on and raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set after breaking Halep in the second game.

And although Halep clawed back by breaking her back in the fifth game, Ostapenko raced away in the tie-breaker to clinch it 7-0, and push the matter into a deciding third set.

That set the tone for Ostapenko as she dismantled Halep in the third, breaking her in the first, third and fifth games to book her berth in the final.


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