Saturday’s Set Points wraps up the week at the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Championships. I had a crazy busy week at work so wasn’t able to follow the tennis that closely and didn’t feel up to writing. I’m back home on the Isle of Wight for the weekend. I still call it home even though it’s not technically home! Read on for a quick recap of the final, my favourite match of the week and an update on Lucie.
Elina Svitolina defends Dubai title
Svitolina won her second title of 2018 and extended her record in WTA finals to 11-2 (via Tennis Abstract) with a 6-4 6-0 win over Daria Kasatkina in Saturday’s Dubai final. The Russian player had looked very relaxed at the beginning but didn’t have the consistency to trouble Svitolina as fatigue seemed to set in during the second set. In a battle of the forehands, it was Svitolina’s that shone, and she didn’t drop serve once during the 70-minute contest.
Aside from losing a set in her first match of the week against Qiang Wang, it was a routine and uneventful run to the title for Svitolina. I’ve seen nothing to change my mind from my WTA predictions back in December. I’ve definitely come around because I honestly didn’t see this coming a few years back!
What a week for Kasatkina
The star of the week was undoubtedly, Daria Kasatkina. The 20-year-old, who will crack the world’s top 20 in next week’s ranking, saved multiple match points in wins over Johanna Konta in the second round (4-6 7-6(6) 6-2, saved 2 MPs) and Garbiñe Muguruza in the semi-finals (3-6 7-6(11) 6-1, saved 3 MPs). If you’re going to watch back anything from the week in Dubai then tune into the second set of Kasatkina-Muguruza – it was an absolute cracker! I don’t often enjoy watching matches back when I know the score, but this was a real treat.
It was very encouraging to see Kasatkina being a bit more aggressive with her forehand. It didn’t work today, yet I really like the intent and it’s becoming a weapon. The wins over Konta and particularly Muguruza were absolutely huge and I hope they will help with building Dasha’s confidence and belief.
Changeover chats with Dasha and Philippe
I didn’t think anyone could get close to Vladimir Platenik in changeover chats with Dasha but Philippe Dehaes is damn good! I like how he poses her questions, talks tactics thoughtfully and makes her laugh. He’s very inspiring with his words and it is clear Dasha is listening to everything and taking it all in. I loved what he had to say after the first set of the final.
Get well soon, Lucie!
In her latest feature for Tennis Channel, Lucie Safarova confirmed she had been dealing with a virus in Dubai. In a strange way I was kind of relieved because something didn’t seem right during her first round loss to Caroline Garcia. Lucie was very flat and barely running for balls at the end. Wishing Lucie a very speedy recovery and fingers crossed she will be ready for Indian Wells!
Next week is Acapulco….
It’s that time of the year when all the players start posting pictures of the beach in Acapulco and I feel insanely jealous! As the matches start late, this is always one of the most challenging tournaments to follow live. I’ll probably try and watch back any decent matches on WTA TV. Not sure if i’ll be doing much on the blog next week as it’s one of the quieter tennis weeks. Indian Wells is sooner than I thought and if work calms down then I want to try and do a bit more on the blog in March.