Jelena Ostapenko is looking for a second successive tournament victory in the Middle East after capturing the sixth title of career title in Dubai. She faces 40th ranked American Amanda Anisimova who has just two titles to her name on Tour. Jelena looked more confident on serve in the first set. Her Ace count wasn’t that high in the match but she was able to hit the right areas which hurt Amanda the most. Watch 1-1(30-30). The serve is very central, straight at Amanda giving her little options than to go forehand down the line, exposing her left side of the court. Up a break at 3-1 it was hard to see how Anisimova would come back. The American committing disappointing unforced errors on break point at 2-1 and game point at 3-1 to give the Latvian a commanding lead. Amanda’s serve was being picked apart by Jelena serving on the ad court. If it was to Jelena’s backhand(4-1(15-0)), the backhand winner was waiting for her. If it was to the forehand. the Latvian was able to catch the ball full center racquet for an easy winner(4-1(40-0)). Respectability was put on the score board by Amanda albeit too late with her first break of the match. Ostapenko with a loose service game at 5-1, it seemed the roles were reversed watching 5-1(0-30), short serve with no conviction at all. Let’s just say the volley at 0-40 was a shot made by a player who knew she had already won the set.
To say the truth Jelena may have won the first set, but I strongly felt the momentum was with the American going into set two with how Amanda played at the tail end of it. Despite the slow start to the set, Anisimova forced a set three. She recovered from losing the first game on her racquet. Watch 1-0(15-30) to see how a lapse in concentration can cost you. The backhand down the line shot was just too easy for Jelena to put away, she overthought it and at the end overcooked it. Sometimes just taking the pace off the ball and placing the ball in court is the tonic. Amanda would get back on serve and never look back. As the Jelena serve got shaky, Amanda’s got solid. A scary moment for the later at the end of the set at 5-3 when Jelena broke to go 5-4 down this time serving to stay in the set. Jelena choked to hand the set to Amanda. A close set three was decided pretty early. Amanda like in set two losing her serve in the first game. Jelena punishing some short serving from Anisimova with 3 ground stroke winners in that game. Although it may look like it wasn’t a close set when Jelena took a 4-0 lead on the double break, Amanda fought back to lose by just one. Watch 4-0(30-40) break point Jelena to go a triple break up. Nice forehand cross court bang on the corner to set up the easy volley for Amanda. Holding serve here was crucial so as to avoid a whitewash bagel which has psychological implications for later tournaments.