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23 April 2024

Errani becomes first Italian to win Dubai Tennis Championships

Sara Errani basking in glory after winning the Dubai Tennis Championship on Feb 21 2016. (Supplied)

By Agencies

Sara Errani defeated Barbora Strycova 6-0, 6-2 on Saturday to win the Dubai Tennis Championships, three years after first reaching the final.

The Italian will rise back into the top 20 as a result of her comprehensive victory in 66 minutes, according to WTA calculations.

Incredibly, Errani almost decided not to come to Dubai after a difficult start to the season.  

“It's unexpected title for me,” said Errani after claiming her ninth career and first Premier-level title. “We was thinking, oh, maybe to not come here, just stay home and recover and try to make it good. It was tough moment, tough year. So to win here is amazing.

“Maybe was not her best day. But of course I was just trying to be really focused and not miss balls, prepare that she will serve good, she will come to the net, she will try to change her game. Just try to be focused. I was trying to not think too much about it is a final, about it is tough match, but just try to play my game, stay there every point, even in the 5-1, 5-2, a lot of match point. Really happy in the end.”

For Strycova, it was just a night when everything went wrong.

“Everything. I mean, this is one of the days where you try everything and then nothing is working,” she said. “The funny thing is that I went on court and I didn't feel really nervous about the match or something different. But I tried everything and I couldn't put one ball in. I don't know why, what happened, but it's just sometimes how it is in tennis.”

Strycova made a stand at the end, saving four match points over the last two games before drilling a forehand out to lose for the sixth time in seven meetings with Errani.

Errani, who won the first eight games, lost the 2013 final in Dubai to Petra Kvitova. She now owns nine career titles.

"I have no words," the first Italian woman to win the Dubai trophy said.

"I'm sorry for Barbora, it was not her day. It was a really tough match. I'm really happy to win this event, it was a difficult week for me. I don't know how I got this far. But I'm very happy for myself and my team."

Errani ran off the first eight games with Czech Strycova barely getting a look in.

The 29-year-old underdog got a round of applause as she finally broke her duck by winning a game to trail 6-0, 2-1.

But the success was short-lived, with Errani continuing her momentum to reach 5-1.

She was briefly sidetracked as Strycova saved a match point to hold for 2-5.

In the next game, Errani encountered troubles in closing out the win, finally going through to the trophy on her fifth match point as Strycova sent a forehand out.

"I was not so calm at the end, I was trying not to think of all the match points," Errani said. "I was still nervous inside."

Strycova was gracious in defeat: "I tried everything, but it was so hard. I'm very happy to have played the final."

The doubles title went to the unseeded pair of Chia-Jung Chuang and Darija Jurak, who saved five match points in Friday’s semi-finals before claiming a 6-4 6-4 victory over second seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.