Garbine Muguruza with the Dubai Duty Free Championships trophy
Garbine Muguruza with the Dubai Duty Free Championships trophy Image Credit: Supplied

Garbine Muguruza has expressed her delight at claiming the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title late on Saturday night.

The Spaniard ended the run of unseeded Barbora Krejcikova in the final, beating her 7-6, 6-3 to claim the eighth title of her career.

The past three finals have also featured one unseeded player, with Daria Kasatkina in 2018 and Elena Rybakina in 2020 also finishing as runner-up, and with Belinda Bencic winning the title in 2019.

Ninth-seeded Muguruza, who was contesting her first Dubai final and is the first Spanish woman to claim the trophy, is the form player as she has now won 18 matches this season, more than any other player on the WTA Tour, after finishing as runner-up at the Yarra Valley Classic in February and last week in Doha.

“It’s a great achievement,” Muguruza said. “I’ve been coming to Dubai many years in a row and I felt I was close, but today finally I got the trophy and I’m very happy to get this one. It was a tricky match. I didn’t have a feel for her. We never practised together, we never played before. I had to work so hard in the first set. The difference was one point and I’m happy it went my way. I think she played great. She’s a very talented player, good hands, good baseline game and I’m happy I was stronger.”

The doubles title was claimed by Alexa Guarachi and Darija Jurak, who overwhelmed Yifan Xu and Zhaoxuan Yang 6-0 6-3 in just 53 minutes. Jurak is a previous champion at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, claiming the title in 2016, while Yang was attempting to repeat her 2018 Dubai success.

“We congratulate Garbine Muguruza on her victory in what is her seventh successive appearance here in the main draw,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “She has kept us entertained throughout the week with her magnificent performances and her success is richly deserved.

“Barbora Krejcikova has now competed in two finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after finishing as runner-up in the doubles in 2020, and she clearly has the ability to go one step further and claim a title here in the years ahead. We look forward to welcoming both Garbine Muguruza and Barbora Krejcikova back to Dubai in 2022.

Ranked 63, Krejcikova is the lowest-ranked player to reach the final. But she stretched her more experienced opponent all the way and Muguruza had to fight extremely hard to claim the match in straight sets.

“For sure I’m disappointed,” said Krejcikova. “It was pretty close. I was playing really well. I was playing such a close match with such a champion. I’m disappointed, but tomorrow I’m going to wake up and feel I did so well and I’ve learnt so much and gained so much experience from this whole week and it motivates me to go and work harder.”