WTA Dubai: Wang Qiang creates huge shock against Jelena Ostapenko

WTA Dubai: Wang Qiang creates huge shock against Jelena Ostapenko

Jelena Ostapenko was given an early exit in Dubai as Wang Qiang put up a spirited display to triumph in straight sets, making a push up in the rankings.

don-han
Don Han

The first day of action at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships already saw unexpected results coming our way, with this match between Wang Qiang and Jelena Ostapenko not being an exception. Wang, being the underdog here, strolled to the straight sets victory over the young Latvian after a very tight first set, with Ostapenko being visually frustrated with herself at times.

Ostapenko loses her focus

Wang started the match in the best way possible, creating a fast start to the match as she had a comfortable hold of service. The slow start for Ostapenko started to show on the scoreboard immediately as the Chinese managed to attack her relatively slow serves, allowing herself to break serve and take the early lead.

Wang Qiang recently defeated Monica Niculescu in Shenzhen this year | Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac
Wang Qiang recently defeated Monica Niculescu in Shenzhen this year | Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac

Not wanting to trail by a large deficit early in the set, the Latvian stormed her way back by making an immediate reply to return on serve. With a great opportunity to regain the lead, Wang failed to capitalize on her break point in the fourth game of the match to allow Ostapenko to hold serve and be level in the scoreboard for the first time in the match.

The Chinese managed to regain the lead as she came up with some powerful tennis to come from 15-40 down and break serve once more, opening up a 4-2 lead with Ostapenko seemingly frustrated with her play today. Consolidating the break of service this time with being 15-30 down, Wang extended her lead to 5-2 and looked on course to close out the first set in style.

Jelena Ostapenko had a slow start to the match | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac
Jelena Ostapenko had a slow start to the match | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac

Nevertheless, this was when the fightback from Ostapenko originated as she narrowly held her service game to stay in the set for at least one more game. The service hold definitely gave the confidence and momentum needed as she got the sole break back after breaking serve for the second time despite being 0-30 down in the game.

With the set being very tight in terms of the score, the winner of the set had to be decided in a tiebreak, making it further unpredictable. Ostapenko had a bright start to the tiebreak as she earned a mini-break right in the first point, looking poised for a first set victory. What happened next was definitely very unexpected for everyone as Wang rattled off seven straight points with some great tennis, stealing the first set in a tiebreak after just 51 minutes.

Wang Qiang celebrating a point won during the 2014 Asian Games | Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac
Wang Qiang celebrating a point won during the 2014 Asian Games | Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac

Wang strolls to the victory

Ostapenko had the worst possible start to the second set as she lost her opening service game of the second set to gift Wang a formidable lead of a set and a break. Maintaining her composure while stepping up her game, Ostapenko showed her will to win by breaking back immediately, leveling the match.

Another tight service game almost saw the Latvian losing her service game once again, but she managed to hit in some good serves to save her from the brink, holding serve for a 2-1 lead.

With renewed confidence, no one would have thought that Ostapenko would crumble from then on as she threw away a 40-30 lead to gift the Chinese her fourth converted break point of the match to regain the lead and look on course to create the huge upset.

Wang Qiang claims one of her biggest victories in her career | Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac
Wang Qiang claims one of her biggest victories in her career | Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac

As the comeback slowly faded in her sights, Ostapenko lost her serve again to give Wang, which gave the Chinese a golden opportunity to serve out the match at 5-2. Wang took her chances well, coming from 0-30 to successfully serve out the upset after 1 hour and 26 minutes, sealing the huge win.

Ostapenko falls in the rankings

With this win, Wang progresses to the second round where she will face Ons Jabeur.

Jelena Ostapenko shows her frustration in Auckland | Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images AsiaPac
Jelena Ostapenko shows her frustration in Auckland | Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images AsiaPac

This loss means that Ostapenko is going to fall out of the world’s top 65, failing to defend her finalist points from last year’s Qatar Total Open where she lost to Carla Suarez Navarro in the final.

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