Defending Champ Svitolina Advances in Dubai Along with Halep, Kvitova, while Kerber Loses
February 20 2019 – DUBAI, UAE Defending champion Elina Svitolina kept on track to win her third successive Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title on Wednesday, taking just 62 minutes to sweep aside two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-2.
“Yeah, I was trying to find my best game. I think I touched it a little bit today,” said sixth seeded Svitolina. “The most important is to go out there and focus and play every point like really focused. You know she obviously a good player. She been on top for long time. She won the big tournaments. She can come back into the match any moment. That’s why I just had to go out there and be ready for everything. In the end, that’s why the score is like this, because I was really on it today.”
Former champions Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova also moved into the quarterfinals, but both had to overcome second set challenges. Halep emerged with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Lesia Tsurenko and Kvitova fought off qualifier Jennifer Brady to win 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
With a fourth round at the Australian Open, two Fed Cup wins and a run to the Doha final last week, Halep has played a lot of matches in recent weeks and is not keen on getting involved in long rallies and three-set battles.
“My mindset now is just to finish the points as quick as possible,” she said. “I’m trying to be more aggressive. I feel good on court. I feel that my game is pretty strong, also physically, even if I’m tired a little bit. Yeah, I feel close to my highest level.”
For the second straight day, 2013 champion Kvitova was drawn into a long three-set fight, with her two hour 34-minute match on Tuesday followed by a two hour 12-minute tussle with Brady. She was happy to once again emerge as the winner from a draining encounter.
“Definitely it’s a relief right now,” said Kvitova. “I tried to be quicker today than yesterday. I did little bit better, but still was pretty tough. The wind was just terrible today, to be honest. It was really difficult to kind of find a way with it. I couldn’t really serve well today at all. But I’m happy that I was able to get those two wins, which I think it’s great when you don’t playing your best and you still find a way to win it.”
In other matches, fifth seed Angelique Kerber fell 5-7, 6-4. 6-0 to Su-Wei Hsieh, Viktoria Kuzmova beat Sofia Kenin 1-6, 7-5, 6-2, Carla Suarez Navarro recovered from 1-5 in the first set, saving six set points, to defeat Naomi Osaka’s conqueror Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 7-5, fourth seed Karolina Pliskova saved two second set points to defeat Alison Riske 7-6, 7-6 and Belinda Bencic saved six match points to beat eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 2-6, 7-6.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
February 17-23, 2019
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
RESULTS – FEBRUARY 20, 2019
Singles – Third Round
 P. Kvitova (CZE) d [Q] J. Brady (USA) 75 16 63
 S. Halep (ROU) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 63 75
 Ka. Pliskova (CZE) d A. Riske (USA) 76(3) 76(5)
S. Hsieh (TPE) d  A. Kerber (GER) 57 64 60
 E. Svitolina (UKR) d  G. Muguruza (ESP) 61 62
B. Bencic (SUI) d  A. Sabalenka (BLR) 64 26 76(7) – saved six match points
C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 75 75
V. Kuzmova (SVK) d S. Kenin (USA) 16 75 62 – saved three match points
Doubles – Second Round
L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / K. Christian (USA) d  T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) 64 16 10-5
 J. Ostapenko (LAT) / K. Siniakova (CZE) d [Alt] E. Bouchard (CAN) / S. Kenin (USA) w/o (Bouchard: left abdominal injury)
 A. Groenefeld (GER) / D. Schuurs (NED) d I. Bara (ROU) / D. Jakupovic (SLO) 64 64
 H. Chan (TPE) / L. Chan (TPE) d V. Kuzmova (SVK) / A. Tomljanovic (AUS) 67(5) 62 10-3
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2019
CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
S. Hsieh (TPE) vs  Ka. Pliskova (CZE)
V. Kuzmova (SVK) vs  P. Kvitova (CZE)
Not Before 7:00 pm
 S. Halep (ROU) vs B. Bencic (SUI)
C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs  E. Svitolina (UKR)
COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
 G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN) vs  L. Hradecka (CZE) / E. Makarova (RUS)
L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / K. Christian (USA) vs  J. Ostapenko (LAT) / K. Siniakova (CZE)
 A. Groenefeld (GER) / D. Schuurs (NED) vs  S. Hsieh (TPE) / B. Strycova (CZE)
 H. Chan (TPE) / L. Chan (TPE) vs D. Jurak (CRO) / R. Olaru (ROU)