Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Barbora Krejcikova halts Aryna Sabalenka's run

Coco Gauff got past Madison Keys in their last-eight meeting

by Abbey Johnson
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Barbora Krejcikova halts Aryna Sabalenka's run

Barbora Krejcikova upset second seed Aryna Sabalenka in their quarter-final match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday. The Czech overcame a first set bagel to eventually prevail 0-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 in an hour and 56 minutes.

In the second set, too, Krejcikova was down a break but bounced back to thwart her opponent. This defeat marked Sabalenka’s first of the 2023 season. Sabalenka won 78% of her first-serve points to Krejcikova’s 62%.

But the latter did better to win more of her second-serve points – 58% to Sabalenka’s 44%. The 2021 French Open champion did lose her serve four times but these service breaks came about in the first two sets. In the deciding set, she didn’t face a single break point.

In that set, Krejcikova finished with winning 75% of her first-serve points and 72% points on return on her opponent’s second serve. For the match, Krejcikova converted three break points. After the win, Krejcikova said, “I was just fighting.

There's not really much you can change because she plays well, she serves well, she hits really hard. I was just trying to get to her pace, just try to, I don't know, maybe be a little more aggressive because otherwise it's difficult to do something else”.

In the semi-finals, the 27-year-old will play third seed Jessica Pegula. The American advanced to the semi-finals without having to play her match after her opponent, Karolina Muchova pulled out of the match-up with an injury to her abdomen.

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Coco Gauff strikes hard

Jessica’s fellow American and doubles partner, Coco Gauff also made her way into the semi-finals in Dubai. The fifth seed beat compatriot Madison Keys 6-2, 7-5 in 81 minutes.

Both players had paltry winners. In the first set, Keys had no winners while Gauff had just three. The final tally of winners at the end of the match showed 10 winners for Keys and four for the eventual winner. However, Keys was let down by the unforced errors she hit throughout the match.

She had 22 unforced errors in the opener which had totalled to 51 at the end of the match. Gauff finished the match with 31 unforced errors. Gauff’s next opponent will be Iga Swiatek. The no. 1 in the world had received a walkover into the semis after Karolina Pliskova who was to play her in the quarter-finals withdrew from the match before its start.

If Coco Gauff reaches the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, it would be the first time she’ll have made it this far in a WTA 1000 event.

Barbora Krejcikova Aryna Sabalenka Madison Keys