Venus Williams claimed her third title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday with a convincing 6-3 6-0 win over Alize Cornet. She is the first unseeded player and the first wild card to win the tournament since the women’s event began in 2001.
It is her 45th career singles title which include her Dubai victories in 2009 and 2010, and comes after her run last month to the Auckland final. She did not concede a set all week, and has not lost a match in her last three visits to Dubai, winning 15 consecutive matches.
“We have enjoyed a wonderful week of tennis, with some superb performances from nearly every top player in the world,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free. “The week has also been full of surprises, with our defending champion, the world number three and last year’s runner-up all unable to win their opening matches.
“Alize Cornet has thrilled us with her unexpected run to the final. It has also been a pleasure to see Venus Williams perform so well despite the setback with her health that she has suffered, and we are delighted that she has managed to regain the title she won in 2009 and 2010.”
Although the score suggests a very one-sided match that was far from the case as the players engaged in countless furiously-contested rallies. But many of those were won by Williams who used her greater strength to advantage.
Cornet earned the first break to lead 2-1, but Williams responded by sweeping the next four games to lead 5-2. She also held two break points in the next game before serving out the set.
The opening game of the second set saw Cornet drop her serve after holding four game points, and she then lost an opportunity to stem Williams’s run to the title when she failed to convert two break points when down 3-0. She also held a further two break points as Williams served for the match.
“It feels good,” said Williams. “Just to be able to be here and compete was, you know, the first thing that made me so happy, and then obviously to play well, win the title and, you know, have this wonderful streak here is, you know, definitely an accomplishment.
“I think Alize is playing great. I think if she continues to play like that, she’s going to play deep in a lot of tournaments and improve. It’s great to see that, because she’s a great addition to the game. She brings so much passion on the court, so it’s great to see her playing well.”
Cornet was disappointed with the score, but admitted that Williams deserved her victory.
“I don’t know. 6-3, 6-0 is a bit tough in an hour and 30, so I guess there was a battle on the court, but she was just better than me today. That’s it,” said Cornet. “She was playing more aggressive. She was pushing me out of the court very far from the baseline, and I didn’t play as deep as yesterday, didn’t serve as well. For sure I didn’t play my best tennis. But Venus helped it a lot and she played good the whole week, so she deserve this title.
“It was a great week for me. I would have loved to make like a better final, you know, with a little bit more of suspense. And the score is really too hard to finish the week, such a good week, but I will have to take all the positive things out of this week. I think there is a lot, so I’m still very motivated for the rest of the season.”
The final ended a great week of tennis, with the prospect now of yet more Centre Court thrills as the tournament prepares to welcome the 22nd staging of the ATP event.
“Congratulations to Venus Williams for her magnificent performances that have thrilled us throughout what has been a very interesting week of competition played at the very highest level,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Alize Cornet has also excelled, and her exuberance and enthusiasm has been a pleasure to watch.
“Congratulations also to Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova, who won their fourth title together and their second trophy of the year with a 6-2 5-7 10-8 victory over Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.”