Jelena Ostapenko has set her sights on a return to the top 10 and more Grand Slam titles after completing a fine week to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title on Saturday evening.
Ostapenko dominated Veronika Kudermetova in the final, cruising past the Russian 6-0, 6-4 in just 65 minutes to win her fifth WTA Tour title. Kudermetova was the only non-Grand Slam champion the Latvian had faced all week, with wins over Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova, and Simona Halep en route to the final.
Ranked No 21 entering the tournament, Ostapenko is now expected to climb eight spots to 13 as she takes aim at her career-high ranking of No 5, achieved in March 2018 while she was the reigning French Open champion.
Ostapenko saw her ranking drop as low as No 79 after losing in the first round of her French Open title defence and enduring a sustained dip in form, but she is now back near the top where her talent belongs and her campaign in Dubai showed just how competitive she can be against the best players.
"Of course, my goals are big: to win in another Grand Slam and to be back in top 10," Ostapenko, 24, said. "I didn't expect that I would have such a great beginning of the year – not like I didn't expect, but I never thought about it. I had a good pre-season, I was working hard. I'm playing well and getting some confidence, which is great."
Ostapenko didn't have "much time to celebrate". From Dubai, she heads to Doha for the Qatar Open, but even before that, immediately after her singles triumph, the Latvian was involved in the doubles final. Across the net from her and partner Lyudmyla Kichenok was Elise Mertens and Kudermetova, keen to exact a measure of revenge from her singles defeat.
The Russian managed to leave Dubai on a winning note, combining with Mertens to defeat Ostapenko and Kichenok 6-1, 6-3 to lift the doubles trophy.
"It's not very often you have to play singles and doubles [finals] against the same person," Ostapenko said. "I was really happy after my singles, I was in a very positive place.
"But I think Veronika, she wanted to win at least doubles because it's not the best thing to lose in the [singles] final, to go to the [doubles] final and lose it. At least she has a doubles title. For me was very important to win in singles, which I did, so I'm happy."