2012 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Round Up
by Press Release|
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships celebrated its 20th anniversary in style with some of the most exciting competition ever staged on the courts of the Dubai Tennis Stadium. At the end of the two weeks that drew a record crowd of more than 100,000 and featured almost every top player in the world, Agnieszka Radwanska had been crowned the new women’s champion and Roger Federer had won his fifth Dubai title.
THE FIRST WEEK
The first big upset of the tournament came on the opening night, when three-time finalist and 2011 runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset 2-6 7-6 6-4 by Dubai debutante Julia Goerges, who had trailed by a set and 3-1.
Also on the first day, in an extraordinary coincidence, Maria Kirilenko beat Monica Niculescu 6-3 6-0. Kirilenko had not won a match in Dubai since 2007 - when she beat the same player by the same score in the same round!
On the second day, fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska dominated the first set and served for a straight-sets win, but then faced elimination when qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak also served for victory in the third set. Radwanska finally emerged from the two hour 32-minute match with a 6-1 6-7 7-5 win. Ana Ivanovic won the battle of two former French Open champions by beating Francesca Schiavone, but sixth seed Marion Bartoli - who had suffered a calf injury the previous week in Doha - hobbled her way to defeat against Shuai Peng.
There were no major upsets on the third day, although fourth seed Samantha Stosur was taken to three sets and top seed Victoria Azarenka was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury she sustained the previous week in Doha. Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki beat Simona Halep in straight sets.
The quarter-finals saw Jelena Jankovic continue her run of excellent results in Dubai, as she upset US Open champion and number four seed Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-2 to reach her fourth semi-final since her run to the final in 2005. Wozniacki emerged from a challenging encounter against fellow Dubai Duty Free Global Ambassador Ivanovic with a 6-3 7-5 victory, Radwanska overwhelmed Sabine Lisicki 6-2 6-1 and Goerges continued her excellent run by beating Daniela Hantuchova 4-6 6-3 6-4.
Semi-finals day, and Wozniacki surrendered her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown when she was defeated 7-6 7-5 by Goerges. The closely-fought battle took two hours 12 minutes, with the outcome remaining in the balance right to the end.
“I didn't play my best game today,” Wozniacki admitted. “Made way too many unforced errors, and Julia took advantage of that. She didn't really allow me to get a rhythm.”
The other semi-final saw Radwanska get the better of Jankovic, winning 6-2 2-6 6-0 in a high quality and entertaining contest during which they often stroked the ball around the court instead of simply pounding the ball from the baseline. Jankovic’s challenge evaporated in the final set, though, and she earned just four points in the first five games.
“She just started to play much better in the second set. I was really in trouble. She was really hitting the ball very well,” said Radwanska. “In the third set I was just trying to be focused on my game and just, you know, fight until the end.”
The final was a closely-fought affair, and Radwanska had to work hard for her victory right to the end against a talented by inconsistent opponent, even having to fight off a break point as she served for the match.
“It feels just great,” said Radwanska. “I was pretty close to losing the first round, so I'm just extremely happy. I think I was just better couple points, to be honest. Two tight sets, but I think in the important moments I was more consistent.”
Goerges wasn’t disappointed at her defeat, knowing she had offered a solid challenge against a top 10 opponent.
“I don't think that I did so many things wrong, because she's a tough player and I was close to win both sets,” she said. “I'm not disappointed because it was a big step in the right direction for me. I can be pretty proud of this week.”
The doubles title was won by Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, who defeated Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina 6-2 6-1.
THE SECOND WEEK
The opening day of the men’s event saw defeat for Djokovic. But it wasn’t defending champion Novak, but his younger brother Marko who lost to Andrey Golubev. The world number one came through a competitive first round, beating Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-4 6-2, and American number one Mardy Fish crushed Andreas Beck 6-1 6-1.
Six of the eight seeds were in action on the second day, and all progressed. Roger Federer won the first 11 points of the match but saved a set point in the second set as he beat Michael Llodra 6-0 7-6, and Murray was stretched to three sets by Michael Berrer.
On the same day, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was once again honoured by the ATP as the ATP World Tour 500 Tournament of the Year for 2011.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman, Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organizers said “We are delighted to receive the award for the ‘Tournament of the Year in the ATP 500 category’ for the eighth time in the past decade. This is a wonderful way to celebrate our 20th Anniversary of the Tournament in Dubai and is confirmation that our efforts to make the tournament something all the players look forward to do not go unnoticed”.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic is just one of the players who voted Dubai as his number one tournament.
“I'm voting for Dubai every year for last couple years,” he said. “For 500 events, I think they're doing a great job in satisfying all the players, especially the top ones. You know, allowing us to stay in the best hotel in the world and enjoying this beautiful venue as well. It's great.”
There was only one upset in the second round on day three, as sixth seeded Fish went down to 2010 finalist Mikhail Youzhny. Federer came through a potentially dangerous meeting with former two-time runner-up Feliciano Lopez, giving up just nine points on serve as he won 7-5 6-3.
Both Djokovic and Federer won their quarter-final matches without facing a break point, although the defending champion was set point down in the tiebreak before he defeated Janko Tipsarevic 6-1 7-6. Federer defeated Youzhny 6-3 6-4. Murray ended a three-match losing streak against Tomas Berdych, but it took him seven match points to wrap up his match against the number five seed 6-3 7-5, and in a minor upset eighth seed Juan Martin Del Potro defeated fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-2.
The semi-finals saw Murray upset defending champion Djokovic 6-2 7-5, with the world number one losing seven straight games at one stage. “The first set I served very well and was aggressive when I had my chances,” said Murray. “In the second set he started going for more and making mistakes because of that. I think that was the difference.”
Djokovic conceded that Murray had been the better player on the day.
“I was fighting for it, but, you know, Andy played a great match,” he said. “He was the better player today. He was serving really well. I made a lot of unforced errors when it was important.”
Federer overcame Del Potro in two tiebreaks, but was down 6-2 in the second set breaker before reeling off the final six points.
The final went to Federer as he overcame a strong challenge from Murray to win 7-5 6-4.
Federer faced break points for only the second time in the week when Murray led 40-15 on his serve for a 4-2 lead. He fought off the challenge, but Murray was finally able to make a breakthrough at 5-5 when he claimed Federer’s serve on his fifth break point of the game.
In the second set Federer broke to lead 2-1, Murray responded by leveling at 3-3 but he remained under pressure, surviving a break point in the next game but netting a double-handed backhand at 4-4 to leave Federer serving for the match.
“The match was close I think in both sets,” said Federer. “I just gave myself more opportunities than Andy did overall. I felt really good out there tonight. I felt calm knowing what I wanted to do.”
Despite his defeat, Murray appreciated that he had enjoyed a great week.
“I think the second set he played better than me,” said Murray. “For sure I made a few too many mistakes in the second, and he was playing a lot more aggressive than in the first set. It was a good win yesterday, good win the day before, tough match today, so I'm happy with the week.”
The doubles was won by Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, who defeated Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 6-4 3-6 10-5.
- Djokovic Beats Berdych To Win Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
- Bhupathi Wins Fifth Dubai Title With Llodra
- Djokovic And Berdych To Content Final Of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
- Djokovic To Play Del Potro; Federer Faces Berdych In Dubai SFs
- Del Potro Reaches Semi-Finals Of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
- Berdych Takes A Spin