The women’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 2014 in pictures

23/02/2014

The 2014 women's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships proved once again why this tournament is one of the highlights of the WTA calendar both on and off the court.

Inside the arena, tennis fans were treated to some truly breathtaking tennis and witnessed the resurgence of one the greatest players of them all as Venus Williams rolled back the years to clinch the title.

Away from the action, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships showed just why players and fans alike hold the tournament is such high regard, with coaching clinics, fan zones and various activities on offer throughout the week to keep everyone entertained.

With the action now over and before we look ahead to the men's event, we have put together an album capturing some of the best moments from the 2014 tournament.

So until next year…

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Cornet can be the future of tennis after great week in Dubai

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Alize Cornet was clearly disappointed with her defeat to Venus Williams in the Dubai final last night but the Frenchwoman is also confident she can be considered part of the group that are the future of women’s tennis.

The 24-year-old, who as a teenager peaked at No11 in the world before slipping down the rankings, is on her way back up.

And following a week where she beat world No1 Serena Williams and reached the final of a Premier-level tournament, Cornet is feeling optimistic.

“I hope I’m still a little bit thefuture of the tennis at 24 years old. I’m not dead yet,” Cornet said with a smile.

“Now that you see that Venus is 33 and she’s still playing unbelievable, I guess I have some years coming ahead of me. I think we are definitely the future of tennis. I hope I am now that I am back to my next level, and I hope I will keep playing like this, because I really enjoy mytennis when I’m like that on court. So we will see in the years coming, but I’m confident.”

Cornet was reduced to tears during her 6-3, 6-0 loss to Venus, getting frustrated by her inability to capitalise on her early break.

She insists the scoreline is not a fair indication of how competitive the match was and felt disappointed a solid week ended that way.

“It was a great week for me. It’s always tough to finish like this, and I believed in my chances today.

“I would have loved to make it a better final with a little bit more of suspense. But I will have to take all the positives out of this week. Ithink there is a lot, so I’m still very motivated for the rest of the season.

“This score in the final, that’s bothering me a little bit, because it was still a battle and you cannot see it with the score, so it’s frustrating.”

Cornet had a huge night on Friday when she beat Serena, and she said she got goose bumps when the crowd was chanting her name.

“For sure, beating the Williams sisters in the same tournament would have been amazing, but maybe next time if I have the chance to do it,” said Cornet.

“Venus was playing faster, deeper. She was taking the ball earlier than me, and was serving better.”

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Behroozian and Janahi can take heart despite Dubai defeats

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It was a difficult day for both Emirati players in the qualifying draw yesterday, with Omar Behroozian and Hamad Janahi losing in the first round, but the pair can find some solace in Alize Cornet’s fine performance in the women’s tournament.

Both Behroozian and Janahi have acted as hitting partners for Cornet throughout the past week, and with the former being right-handed and the latter being a lefty, the French-woman has been getting the best of both worlds en route to the women's final.

Janahi lost 6-2, 6-1 to Dutch exworld No40 Thiemo de Bakker early yesterday, while Behroozian had a rough time against Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov, losing 6-0, 6-1 to the former world No68.

“I started well and stayed on serve until two-all but then I messed up with one double fault and got broken,” Janahi told Sport360°.

“He serves huge, so it was really difficult trying to break him back.”

The 23-year-old Emirati said he’s been enjoying hitting with Cornet during the week and was thrilled to see her make the final.

“Alize has been great and she’s enjoyed having both a lefty and a righty to hit with her,” said Janahi.

“She’s been on fire and she’s such a nice girl, always smiling and positive.”

Other qualifying action saw Sergei Bubka Jr lose to Jesse Huta Galung 6-4, 6-0. The Ukrainian, son of pole-vaulting legend Sergei Bubka, is playing his third tournament back after suffering a freak accident, falling from the third floor of a building in Paris in November 2012.

Bubka Jr may have lost his qualifying match, but he’s grateful to be back on the court.

“I’m really thankful to the tournament organisers for giving me the wildcard into the qualifying draw,” said the 27-year-old.

“Unfortunately this time didn’t go as well as I hoped, but it’s difficult to expect something great right now. It’s only my third tournament back. Just to be competing again feels great.”

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