Dubai: Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova shocked second-seeded Jelena Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok in the women’s doubles semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Friday.
Kudermetova and Samsonova, who earlier defeated the Indo-American duo of Sania Mirza and Madison Keys in the first round, dashed the hopes of last years’ twin finalist Ostapenko, winning 7-5, 6-2 to book a meeting with Hoa-Ching Chan and Latisha Chan of Taiwan.
The Taiwanese duo overcame a strong challenge from third seeds Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs in a three-setter. The Hao-Chin and Latisha breezed to a 6-1 win the first set, but the Dutch-American duo came back strongly to win the second 6-4 to push the contest to the third set tiebreaker. The duo won the tiebreaker 10-4 to keep their title hopes alive.
Women’s tennis was the winner on Friday when Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships presented the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), the principle organising body of women’s professional tennis, with a special memento to mark its 50th anniversary.
Prior to the second Singles semi-final on Centre Court, fans were treated to a highlights video celebrating 50 years of the WTA.
Steve Simon, WTA CEO and Chairman was then presented with a replica of the iconic silver coffee pot trophy awarded to the winner of the WTA 1000 event in Dubai in a ceremony attended by Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free; Ramesh Cidambi; COO of Dubai Duty Free; Salah Tahlak, Joint COO of Dubai Duty Free and Tournament Director of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Sinead El Sibasi, Senior Vice-President Marketing of Dubai Duty Free and world No 1 Iga Swiatek.
Equal prize money
“Thank you for the recognition of the past 50 years. You saw by the video what the past 50 years has meant. The WTA was started with the premise to provide every woman athlete who had the ability with a place to play tennis. It has now grown to over 70 events worldwide, 600 athletes competing on WTA Tour and a global broadcast audience of over 900 million. What we are excited about is the next 50 years,” said Simon.
“When you have champions like Iga Swiatek and partners such as Dubai Duty Free, and the team we have at the WTA, it’s only going to be a very exciting 50 years.”
Colm McLoughlin added: “We are delighted that Dubai Duty Free partnered with women’s tennis when it did, I’m very happy that we decided to join the ladies on the tour when we did 23 years ago and I’ve never missed an opportunity to say that at that time Dubai Duty Free was prepared to offer equal prize money to the women and have very happy we have continued to do that. I want to thank everyone for attending and congratulate the WTA on its 50th year.”