Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, February 21, 2024


Iga Swiatek swept Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-4; Coco Gauff rallied over Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to snap the Czech's 11-match winning streak in Dubai.

Photo credit: Christopher Pike/Getty

Major champions took wildly disparate routes to reach the Dubai quarterfinals.

Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek was a streak stretcher and US Open champion Coco Gauff played streak snapper.

More: Delray Beach Final Photo Gallery By Matthew Calvis

World No. 1 Swiatek swept Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-4 to avenge her 2023 Wimbledon quarterfinal loss and score her sixth straight win.

“She’s a fighter and she’s a a great player, really experienced, you know,” Swiatek said of Svitolina. “So I knew I had to be ready for many shots where she comes back from slices different positions on court.

“So I wanted to be patient and just do my job.”

The four-time Grand Slam champion raised her 2024 record to 13-1.

Swiatek, who is 13-0 in her last 13 matches vs. the Top 20, will play either Australian Open finalist Zheng Qinwen or world No. 35 Anastasia Potapova for a semifinal spot.

Empowered by her run to a third straight Doha championship last weekend, Swiatek said she’s feeling more connected to the court in Dubai.

“For sure I felt more comfortable and I got used to the surface a little bit better,” 2023 Dubai finalist Swiatek said. “That’s the most important thing when you transition from one tournament to another pretty quickly. But for sure, it wasn’t easy as well, so I’m just happy that I’m through.”

Shaking off a horror-show first-set serving performance, a gritty Gauff rallied over Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to snap the Czech's 11-match winning streak and advance to her third quarterfinal of the season.

Auckland champion Gauff hit eight of her nine double faults in the opening set, struggling to find the service box at times.

Shrugging off a scattershot opening set, Gauff began to find her range and rhythm.

A brief tiff Gauff had with the chair umpire Pierre Bacchi over a ruling that went against her fired up the 19-year-old baseliner. Gauff correctly challenged a call using the replay technology, but instead of awarding the point to Gauff, Bacchi ruled a replay of the point.

An annoyed Gauff, who asked the chair umpire to review the replay after the match, lost the argument, but ultimately channeled her frustration into action to inspire her comeback win.

“I think it just fueled me; I want to watch back the video,” Gauff said. “I feel confident that [contact] was after [the call] but it’s okay. It’s just one point, it happens in tennis. Players make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes and even if it was I’ll check.

“Kind of went upward from there for me, so yeah.”

Gauff fought off 11 of 16 break points in the match, including denying five of seven break points in the final set when she served 73 percent and hit three of her five aces.

It was one of Gauff’s most important wins of the season in that she showed problem-solving skill to fix her serving issues, showed the mental maturity to refuse to let a bad call sink her spirit and stood up to a former world No. 1 playing some of her best tennis in years.

World No. 3 Gauff said keeping calm amid emotional chaos was key.

“I think I was just trying to tell myself to stay calm the next point,” Gauff said. “Sometimes, when I get angry, I just go for too much. So I was just trying not to let that be the turning point of the set because I think I was up a break at that point.

“Maybe I dragged it out a little longer than I needed to. But at the end of the day, I did what I thought was best in the moment.”

The third-ranked Gauff raised her 2024 record to 12-2, including a 3-0 mark in three-setters. Next up for Gauff is a quarterfinal against qualifier Anna Kalinskaya.

World No. 40 Anna Kalinskaya toppled ninth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 7-5 to charge into her first quarterfinal since she made the last eight at the Australian Open.

A smooth Swiatek came out eager to to take charge against the woman who knocked her out of Wimbledon.

On the full stretch, Swiatek flicked a forehand return that caught the very edge of the baseline. That shot scored Swiatek the first break and a 3-1 lead.

Standing toe-to-toe in baseline rallies, Swiatek was cracking drives into the corners and hitting with more net clearance. When Svitolina netted a shot, Swiatek confirmed the break at 30 for 4-1.

Opening the court with a crackling forehand down the line, Swiatek raced up near the service line and banged a backhand crosscourt scoring her second straight break to stretch her lead to 5-1.

The top seed served 71 percent and won 12 of 17 first-serve points breezing through the final five games of a lopsided 28-minute opener.

A surging Swiatek broke to start the second set then slammed down a love hold—her seventh straight game—for a 2-0 second-set lead.

Credit Svitolina for continuing to stay positive and try to press from the baseline. Challenging the world No. 1’s forehand wing, Svitolina reversed direction to the backhand drawing a netted error for her first break 47 minutes into the match to even the second set.

Tennis Express

The 20th-ranked Ukrainian had a couple of game points that would have given her a 3-2 lead, but Swiatek was unyielding. Swiatek smacked a backhand pass down the line—her fourth break of the day—for 3-2.

Every time Svitolina lifted her level, Swiatek answered accordingly. From love-30 down in the sixth game, Swiatek zapped a pair of aces coming back to hold for 4-2.

Serving for the quarterfinals at 5-4, Swiatek dodged a pair of break points. When Svitolina pasted a backhand into net on her second break point she shrieked in angst as if knowing her shot to stretch the match had slipped away.

Swiatek zapped a forehand swing volley to close out a quarterfinal return in 83 minutes.


Latest News