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Ostapenko Rolls To Fifth Title in Dubai, Shares Two Major Goals

” When I’m in the final, I always want to win because, as many people say, people remember only winners,” Jelena Ostapenko said after defeating Veronika Kudermetova of Russia in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis final. EPA-EFE/ALI HAIDER

Desert dominance is inspiring major aspirations in Jelena Ostapenko.

The 2017 Roland Garros champion conquered four consecutive Grand Slam champions—Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep, rallying from a set down in the last three matches—to reach the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final.

Ostapenko saved her best for the final blitzing Veronika Kudermetova 6-0, 6-4 to capture her fifth career title today.

Afterward, the 24-year-old Latvian shared her primary goals: Win another Grand Slam and return to the Top 10.

“Of course, my goals are big: to win in another Grand Slam and to be back in top 10,” Ostapenko told the media in Dubai. “Of course, I didn’t expect that I will have such a great beginning of the year. Not like I didn’t expect, but I never thought about it.

“I did a good pre-season. I was working hard. I think, yeah, I’m playing well and getting some confidence, which is great.”

Jelena Ostapenko (Front-R) of Latvia holds the trophy after winning her final match against Veronika Kudermetova (Front-L) of Russia at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. EPA-EFE/ALI HAIDER

Ostapenko is already closing on one of those goals. She arrived in Dubai ranked No. 21 and rises to No. 13 in the live rankings after a brilliant week.

The former world No. 5 has won eight of her last nine matches and believes the best is yet to come. You can understand why Ostapenko’s confidence is thriving. In addition to her singles success, Ostapenko and partner Lyudmyla Kichenok reached the Dubai doubles final bowing to the team of Kudermetova and Elise Mertens.

Doubles play has helped Ostapenko sharpen her penchant for acute angles and also helped her shore up her serve, which could delve into patches of double faults in the past.

“When I’m in the final, I always want to win because, as many people say, people remember only winners,” Ostapenko said. “It’s always, like, annoying to lose in the final. I really was focusing, really ready for a battle today. Very focused the whole match I think, especially in the beginning. I mean, I played really well.

“Yeah, it’s just great to finish the week with a title, especially in singles.”