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.
So the WTA season 2022 has finally ended. Since the last entry, the main event was the Year End Championships which saw Caroline Garcia top a terrific second half of 2022 with the singles title and a surprise defeat for dominant number 1, Iga Swiatek. My main interest was in the doubles, but sadly ended in a disappointing defeat for my favourite doubles team, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. The pair cruised through the group stages and the semi-final and looked on course to retain the title however the team of Elise Mertens and Veronika Kudermatova pipped them at the post in the match tie break of the final.
Well Krejcikova fans, what another week it was! Barbora Krejcikova did something nobody else has managed in 2022: winning a final against world number 1, Iga Swiatek. After taking the title in Tallinn last week, Krejcikova followed up with an even more impressive run and her first WTA 500 level title.
Coming into this match, it was a little worrying for us Krejcikova fans. Would this be a let down? Barbora’s return to form over the last few weeks has been fantastic, but Iga in a final? With a massive crowd of Polish fans?