Dubai: Jelena Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok stormed back from a set down to book their place in the doubles semi-finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for a second successive year. Rarely looking flustered, the pair rallied to overcome Zhaoxuan Yang and Vera Zvonareva 6-7, 6-2, 10-8 on Court 1 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.
Ostapenko reached both singles and doubles final last year and a repeat of that feat was rendered impossible after losing to Aryna Sabalenka on Wednesday. In her doubles quarter-final 24 hours later, she cut a different figure, fighting back from a set down to close out the match in a tiebreak.
After booking her place in Friday’s doubles semi-final against Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova, she said she wished she could channel the mindset she applies to her Doubles game into her Singles.
“Honestly, when I play doubles I am super relaxed,” said Ostapenko, who reached doubles semi-finals at both the French Open and Wimbledon last year. “Of course, I care, but I don’t take it as serious as my singles and I wish I could take that thinking to my singles because I play so much better when I’m relaxed and not thinking too much.”
About Friday’s semi-final, Ostapenko added: “We will just try to enjoy it as much as we can; just as we did last year when we reached the final. We have good memories, myself and my partner, so it’s really great to be in the semi-finals in doubles here in Dubai once more.”
Kudermetova and Samsonova were made to battle for their place in the semi-finals, with North American pair Leylah Fernandez and Bethanie Mattek-Sands — the latter a former doubles winner here — showing fight after narrowly losing the first set. First serves proved the difference, with Kudermetova and Samsonova winning 68 per cent of their first serves, compared to 58 per cent for Fernandez and Mattek-Sands.
In the other semi-final, Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs beat Monica Niculescu and Kimberley Zimmermann to set up a Friday face-off with Taiwan’s Chan sisters, Hao-ching and Latisha, who had surprisingly beaten top-seeded Doubles duo Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula on Wednesday evening.