Barbora Krejcikova stuns Iga Swiatek to win Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title

Czech beats top seed for sixth singles title of her career

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Barbora Krejcikova completed a superb week at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships by stunning world No 1 Iga Swiatek in Saturday's final to collect the sixth singles title of her career.

Krejcikova was the second-best player in the world just 12 months ago but injury-related issues had seen the Czech slide to 30th by the time she arrived in Dubai.

Not that any of that mattered to the former French Open champion, who followed up wins over previously unbeaten Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka and world No 3 Jessica Pegula by claiming the ultimate scalp in women's tennis, defeating Swiatek 6-4, 6-2.

"It means a lot. It was a great week and I was improving in every game. Today I showed my best tennis," Krejcikova said. "Iga motivates me every day, it was a great final and I'm definitely happy with the result."

Krejcikova will aim to continue her renewed challenge on the singles circuit, particularly when the tour heads to the European clay courts.

The 27-year-old Czech has dropped down the rankings since her career-high second in February last year, an arm injury occurring at the worst possible time and coinciding with her Roland Garros title defence.

A first-round defeat in Paris saw Krejcikova lose all those rankings points and she has been aiming to get back to those heady heights since, although she has continued to dominate the doubles circuit alongside compatriot Katerina Siniakova. The evidence provided in Dubai suggests Krejcikova is very much on track to be a force once again in the singles game.

"It's a huge achievement," Krejcikova added. "I was enjoying all the matches and I love playing on big courts with the great atmosphere. I hope there's going to be more matches like this for me."

It was a minor setback for Swiatek who last week had returned to dominant form to win the Qatar Open title – where she dropped just five games in three matches – before easing into the Dubai final in similarly emphatic fashion.

Ultimately, though, she come up against an opponent simply too good on the day.

The 21-year-old Pole will need to quickly regroup as the tour heads Stateside next month for back-to-back 1000-level tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami, where Swiatek last year completed the 'sunshine double'. Plenty of good memories, then, but also plenty of points to defend.

From there, it will be the European clay court swing and Swiatek's favourite surface. Dubai may represent another disappointment - following her fourth-round exit at the Australian Open - but Swiatek remains far and away the best player in the world and in the next few months, she will be keen to hammer that point home.

Updated: February 25, 2023, 5:42 PM