Dubai Duty Free Tennis: Jabeur reaches second round of qualifying

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On the rise: Ons Jabeur.

Ons Jabeur believes there are promising signs that the work she put in during her preseason preparations is starting to pay off after she claimed her 10th match win of 2017 on Friday in Dubai.

The Tunisian world No172 advanced to the second round of qualifying at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Brazilian Paula Cristina Goncalves and is attempting to reach the main draw of a WTA tournament for a third time this season.

Despite a sandstorm that swept the UAE on Friday, as well as rain that interrupted play, Jabeur got through her opener in 68 minutes, saving seven of the eight break points she faced and breaking her opponent four times.

“I’m happy with the match, for a first round it was really good,” the 22-year-old Jabeur told Sport360.

“Maybe I could have won a bit easier but it was windy and that didn’t really help. I played my game. I tried my best to play and to move my opponent a lot because she doesn’t like to move a lot. I’m pretty happy, especially in Dubai, an Arab country, so it’s a special win. So hopefully I’ll continue this way and qualify for the main draw.”

Jabeur broke onto the scene when she won the French Open junior title in 2011 but has yet to break the top-100 on the women’s tour.

She has a unique game highlighted by her deft drop shots and attacking style and, armed by new coach Mislav Hizak of Croatia, seems to be finally on the verge of a breakthrough.


Earlier this month, Jabeur reached the quarter-finals of the WTA event in Taipei as a qualifier. She held four match points against world No13 Elina Svitolina (who beat Serena Williams at the Olympics last year) before bowing out.

“I was a little bit depressed at first. I kept dreaming about the match points I had, it was really tough the first few days but then I said maybe it happened for a reason, it happened to learn from it,” Jabeur confessed.

“I talked to my coach about the match, it was more mentally, I had to be brave in the points but that moment I couldn’t find the good shots I was hitting throughout the match.

“But I still thank God to be in that position and play well. Maybe I lost a quarter-final in that tournament but I feel that something better is coming for me. I don’t regret losing and hopefully I’ll do better in other tournaments, maybe this one.”

Jabeur spent her preseason training with the likes of world No32 Daria Kasatkina and Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova at the Empire Tennis Academy in Slovakia. She admits it was a brutal few weeks but feels she’s already reaping the rewards.

The North African also said things have been going well with her coach.

“We’re working hard, he’s from Croatia, young, motivated to work with me, and I’m motivated to work with him.

“Hopefully the results will be better. Surely it’s going to pay off, we really worked hard.

“I still have the images in my head from the preseason and it was really tough. With our conditioning coach in the Slovakian Empire Tennis Academy, he really killed us.

“It was amazing with these girls (Kasatkina & Co). They’re professionals. They know when to laugh, they know when we have to be professional and working hard.

“I was kind of like the clown in the group and we had so much fun. The 10 days we spent in the mountains only working fitness it was really tough but also fun. For sure we’re going to repeat that every year.”

Jabeur faces the winner of the clash between Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada, and Nao Hibino of Japan, in the second round of qualifying today. Their match was suspended due to rain yesterday with Gabrowski leading 7-6 (6), 6-4, 4-3.

Meanwhile, Oman’s Fatma Al Nabhani suffered a crushing 6-0, 6-1 to Taipei’s Chang Kai-Chen in 52 minutes.

Al Nabhani has a wildcard for the doubles main draw and will be partnering Germany’s Mona Barthel.

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Going Out: Catch Murray & Kerber in the Dubai

Jay Asser 18/01/2017
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One of the top sporting events in the UAE calendar is back with another star-studded line-up to showcase the very best in tennis. Featuring both world number ones, Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are set to once again bring world-class action to the emirate.

Tickets are now on sale for the highly-anticipated event, set to take place from February 19 to March 4 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium. Fans are encouraged to reserve their spot as soon as possible with tickets likely selling fast.

In addition to the top-ranked players, the tournament’s line-up will include big names like seventime Dubai champion Roger Federer and previous winners Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep.

Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said: “This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the event, and again we have attracted an amazing line-up.

“With all the top players on court in the early rounds, fans can expect to watch world-class action every day and enjoy plenty of activities in the village.

“The tournament has gone from strength to strength over the years and the regular attendance of the best players in the world is testament of the growth and stature of the event. We are delighted to be hosting the players at what is set to be another fantastic fortnight of tennis here in Dubai.”

The action at Garhoud will kick off with the WTA Premier 5 event on February 19, followed by the ATP 500 tournament on February 27, offering a combined a prize pool of $5.2 million (Dh19.1m).

Salah Tahlak, tournament director and executive vice president – Corporate Services, Dubai Duty Free, commented: “We are very much looking forward to this year’s Championships and are delighted to have such a great line-up of players including world No1 in both the ladies’ and men’s game.

“We want our many tennis fans from around the world to enjoy this 25th running of the tournament and we expect there to be great excitement at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium throughout the tennis fortnight.”

Get your tickets now from the box office at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, open from 09:00 to 21:00 daily, or through www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com. Grandstand tickets range from Dh75 for opening rounds to Dh700 for the ATP finals, with season packages also on offer.

What: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Where: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium

When: February 19 to March 4

Contact: Visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com

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How to get tickets to watch Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

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Roger's back: The seven-time champion is in town.

Tickets for one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the UAE sporting calendar, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, go on sale on Tuesday 17 January, and fans are encouraged to get in early to get their hands on the hottest tickets in town.

With an exceptional line-up of players including both world number ones, Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber, along with crowd favourite and seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer, and previous winners Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska all vying for the prestigious title, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium is set to be the place to be from 19 February – 4 March.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said: “This year we are celebrating the 25 th anniversary of the event, and again we have attracted an amazing line-up. With all the top players on court in the early rounds, fans can expect to watch world-class action every day and enjoy plenty of activities in the village.

“The tournament has gone from strength to strength over the years and the regular attendance of the best players in the world is testament of the growth and stature of the event. We are delighted to be hosting the players at what is set to be another fantastic fortnight of tennis here in Dubai.”

Preparations to celebrate this milestone are in full swing with the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Organising Committee meeting with new Committee President Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer of Dubai Duty Free, last week.

Cidambi said: “Many of the Committee members have been involved in the Championships since its inception, and are delighted to be part of this historic milestone for the event. This year will see a number of special events to celebrate the 25 th anniversary, with a full programme to keep everyone entertained for the fortnight, both on court with brilliant tennis and off court with a range of new activities and entertainment.”

Staged at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium in Garhoud, the action will commence on 19 February with the WTA Premier 5 event, followed on 27 February with the ATP 500 tournament offering a combined prize pool of US$5.2 million.

Commenting on the milestone anniversary of the tennis this year, Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director and Executive Vice President – Corporate Services, Dubai Duty Free said: “We are very much looking forward to this year’s Championships and are delighted to have such a great line-up of players including World No. 1 in both the Ladies’ and Men’s game. We want our many tennis fans from around the world to enjoy this 25 th running of the tournament and we expect there to be great excitement at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium throughout the tennis fortnight.”

Tickets for the event will go on sale on Tuesday 17th January from the Box Office at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, which is open from 9am to 9pm daily but may open earlier on Tuesday in anticipation of early morning crowds. Grandstand ticket prices range from AED75 for opening rounds to AED700 for the ATP finals, with season tickets also available.

Four tickets per person or company are available for purchase. Tickets are also available online at http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/en/tickets. For further information about tickets, prices and the tournament visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

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