Tennis: Muguruza ends two-year title drought with Dubai triumph

12

DUBAI – Garbine Muguruza ended a two-year title drought by claiming a maiden Dubai crown with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 victory over unseeded Czech Barbora Krejcikova on Saturday (March 13).

The ninth seed was contesting her third final of 2021 and became the first Spanish woman to triumph in the emirate thanks to her success over Krejcikova.

Muguruza, who had lost her last three finals, had not won a title since Monterrey in April 2019 prior to this week in Dubai.

“It’s a great achievement. I’ve been coming here for many years in a row and I felt like I was close, but not enough, and today finally I got the champion’s trophy.

“I’m very happy after losing a few finals in a row, to get this one,” said the 27-year-old Muguruza.

“It paid off this week. The other weeks I was close. Today I fought harder and I’m very happy about it.”

The two-time major champion now owns a tour-leading 18 match-wins in 2021 and a total of eight winner’s trophies in her cabinet.

It is the former number one’s biggest title since Cincinnati in 2017.

“I feel like the consistency on tour is so to get. Being able to play three finals (this year) is a great sign that we are on the right way,” said Muguruza, who was runner-up in Doha last week, as well as at the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne last month.

A netted forehand from Muguruza handed Krejcikova a break of serve in the opening game but the Spaniard retaliated immediately to draw level.

An aggressive return saw Muguruza break for a 4-2 lead but Krejcikova utilised her fluid backhand to peg her back. Krejcikova dug deep to fend off three points on her own serve and force a tiebreak.

Muguruza trailed 3-5 in the breaker and saved a set point at 5-6 before she grabbed the 65-minute opening set on a wide forehand from her opponent.

Krejcikova went off court for 11 minutes, delaying the start of the second set.

The 25-year-old blew a 40-0 lead to get broken upon resumption of play as Muguruza marched towards a 4-2 advantage.

She gave a huge sigh of relief when a Krejcikova forehand sailed long on Muguruza’s second match point.

The Spaniard has been competing in Doha and Dubai without her coach Conchita Martinez, who contracted Covid-19 and was forced into isolation.

“It was very challenging, more than people think, with so many things that happened in this Middle East swing but we stood strong and I’m very proud of my whole team,” said Muguruza.

“I want to dedicate this tournament especially to my physio, Adri (Adriana Fort). She worked so hard this week, to do everything, the coaching, the physio, the fitness training, I’m very proud of her work.

“And also to Conchi, my coach, she got the virus and she was so upset she couldn’t come, this one is for her.”

Krejcikova has enjoyed great success in doubles, reaching the number ranking and claiming two women’s doubles Grand Slam trophies, as well as three in mixed doubles.

Her surge in singles can be traced back to last fall when she made the fourth round at Roland Garros before reaching the semi-finals in Linz.

The Czech world number 63 claimed the first top-20 win of her career in singles earlier this season at the Grampians Trophy in Melbourne.

She will now rise to a career-high 36 in the world in singles courtesy of her exploits in Dubai.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More