That’s a wrap for the 2021 Dubai Duty Free Championships. In Saturday’s final, Garbiñe Muguruza beat Barbora Krejcikova, 7-6(6) 6-3 to win her first title in nearly two year since Monterrey 2019. Of the nine singles finals on the WTA tour in 2021, eight of them have been decided in straight sets. Read on for final thoughts from Dubai. I’ve enjoyed writing this week and planning to be back for Miami 🙂.
Final Result 🏆
This was not Muguruza’s most convincing performance of the tournament by any means but what was most impressive, and has been for a while now, is her commitment and drive on every single point. At the end of a tense first set, Muguruza handled herself admirably in the key moments. Muguruza missed three set points on Krejcikova’s serve at 6-5 40-0 and then found herself down 3-5 in the first set tiebreak following a string of shaky errors. Muguruza changed it up on the next point, taking charge with some aggressive strikes and (eek) landing an overhead. Muguruza saved a set point with a superb one-two punch and won the opener on her fourth set point.
Playing the biggest singles final of her career, Krejcikova was not overrawed and arguably on top of the first set exchanges. It was mostly Muguruza’s serving that kept the Spaniard ahead in the scoreline. I’m becoming a fan of Krejickova’s groundstrokes. I think it’s her timing which makes it all look so effortless. Looking back, that first set tiebreak was the clincher. The second set opened with some gruelling, close games, Muguruza edged them and then front-ran the second set brilliantly. A random tedious note – this match had sooo many abandoned ball tosses from both players, especially Krejcikova.
I am thrilled for Muguruza. The one thing missing from her rise back to relevance was a trophy and she’s now got the monkey off her back after three final losses in a row. Muguruza is returning serve as well as anyone on the WTA tour right now. It’s Muguruza’s committment, that word again, which is striking. She’s delivering this level of consistency, week in, week out, which was just not a thing a few years ago. Backing up a Doha final with a Dubai title is quite a feat. I’ve written before that I think it’s all going to fall into place for Muguruza at some point this year. Dubai isn’t a gamechanger but it’s certainly a stepping stone in the right direction. It would take something quite spectacular for me not to have Mugsy as my champion pick for Roland Garros!
Favourite snap 📸
I enjoyed Dubai more than Doha. Muguruza-Sabalenka was another highlight for the second week in a row. Gauff-Alexandrova (remember?!) and Mertens-Pegula brought the drama. Two worthy winners from the Middle East. Looking forward to see what Miami brings…