Dubai, UAE: Andrey Rublev ended the inspiring run of qualifier Jiri Vesely 6-3 6-4 in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday to win his second title in two weeks.
The doubles final saw Tim Puetz and Michael Venus needing almost two hours to overcome Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 6-3 6-7 16-14. It was the second Dubai title for Venus after he won in 2020 with John Peers, and the second straight year that Mektic and Pavic finished as runners-up.
The final was attended by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline, and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, His Highness, Sheikh Hasher Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum – President of UAE Tennis Federation and Nasser Yousef, Secretary General, UAE Tennis Federation.
“We have enjoyed not only a highly entertaining final but a fantastic week that has celebrated the 30th year of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in the best possible way,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.
“Every day has produced great drama and so many matches have been decided only in the final moments, and it is with great pleasure that we not only congratulate Andrey Rublev on his wonderful victory but Jiri Vesely too for his successful week in overcoming such strong opposition to reach today’s final. We wish both of them well in the weeks and months ahead and look forward to welcoming them back to Dubai in 2023.
“And not only did we enjoy so many closely-fought matches in the singles, but the doubles final too was full of drama in which both teams had the chance of taking the title. We congratulate Tim Puetz and Michael Venus on their fine victory and Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic for their excellent week.”
At 123, Vesely is the lowest ranked player ever to reach the final of the tournament in its 30-year history, and he was just one win away from becoming only the third qualifier to claim an ATP 500 Series event title since they began in 2009.
But second seeded Rublev, who also won last week in Marseille, looked more focused and for the first time in four matches didn’t drop his serve in the early minutes of the match. In fact, he lost just two points on his serve in the opening set, and a break for 3-1 was enough to give him the set.
He came under more pressure in the second set, but not until after he successfully challenged an out call to break for 1-0. He then held two break points for a 4-1 lead, but Vesely dug deep and not only fought off that threat but then broke in the next game to level at 3-3. The fightback was short-lived, however, as Vesely’s seventh double-fault gifted Rublev a break for 4-3 and he went on to claim the title with his second match point.
“To be honest, I have no idea how I did it. I came here without any expectation. I was thinking, like, even if I'm going to win at least one round, it's going to be something like a miracle,” said Rublev. “But somehow all the week was like, I don't know, for me every ball, every line, everything, like, was for me. I don't know. This week I was super lucky. Basically just happen. I was more lucky than anyone this week. He now has another reason to love Dubai.
“Of course, I have so many good memories on the tournament, outside the tournament. I've been here many times even without the tournament. It's amazing city. I mean, I don't need to tell you. You have everything here. Yeah, it's always great to come here to enjoy, I don't know, the sun, the good food, I don't know, some activities, yeah.”
“Some of the matches we have seen this week have been among the most thrilling and entertaining in the tournament’s 30 year history,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Every day has produced battles that have had us on the edge of our seats until the very end, and both players have worked incredibly hard to reach today’s final.
“We could not have asked for more from them, nor from the others whose efforts fell just short in the face of such determined and talented opposition. We look forward to Andrey Rublev defending his title in 2023, and to see once again those others who have performed this week with such distinction.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.