Today was the final of the Dubai Duty Free classic WTA1000 in Dubai, the first 1000 level event of the year. It was won superbly, by Barbara Krejcikova who beat Iga Świątek, the world number one and hot favourite, in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to give a Krejcikova the 6th singles title of her career and her first WTA1000 level title. Krejcikova also achieved something remarkable – beating the three top ranked players in one week – actually on successive days!
Such a weird match today in the third round of the Dubai Duty Free classic. My two favourite players, Petra Kvitova and Barbara Krejcikova played against each other, and I honestly did not know who I was cheering for!
Okay, not quite true. I will always cheer for Petra, no matter what. However, this match ended in a convincing win for Krejcikova and I could not be totally unhappy. Yes that sounds weird. When Petra loses I’m usually very sad. However Krejcikova played really well. Very controlled calm performance with Barbora’s forehand working really really well. She served well, returned well, moved well, defended well. As a Krejcikova fan for 2 years now, this was the first time I’ve watched and not really wanted her to win, but having said that, I did really like that she played so well.
It’s the end of January 2023, and after one month of the new season plenty has happened.
The Australian Open 2023 was very entertaining and ended with a great win for Aryna Sabalenka. Sabalenka has been a top-10 player for five years but has always fallen short in Grand Slams. It took several years for her to make a second week, but she has made a few semifinals, but stumbled at that stage. Notably, the 2021 US Open where she allowed Layla Fernandez back into the match and even the 2022 US Open saw her lead Swiatek by a set but lose. However, she began the 2023 season really well. She took the title in Adelaide and went through to the Australian Open final without dropping a set.
Her opponent in the final was the Wimbledon champion, Elena Rybakina, who has been a players I’ve admired for a while. Rybakina backed up her Wimbledon win very very well with a fantastic run to the final. A run that included a very convincing win over the world number one Iga Świątek.