Ons Jabeur left frustrated as Elina Svitolina goes for Dubai hat-trick

Svitolina was made to work in the first set against Jabeur. (Getty Images)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Ons Jabeur left frustrated as Elina Svitolina goes for Dubai hat-trick

  • Tunisian forced to retired after fall in first set.
  • Defending champion Svitolina focused on winning unprecedented three Dubai titles in a row.

LONDON: Ons Jabeur admitted she was annoyed after a shoulder injury forced her to call it quits against Elina Svitolina in Dubai.
The Tunisian was down 7-6, 4-0 in the second round match with the two-time defending champion when she retired — she fell towards the end of the first set and required a lengthy medical break. But having looked more than a match for Svitolina until that point what hurt more than her shoulder was the realisation that her chance of going deep in her favorite tournament was over.
“I’m still a little angry about it as I felt I was playing really good and I was playing good shots during the game,” Jabeur said.
“I was playing my best tennis and I was handling the first set pretty good but then it is frustrating to have this kind of injury.”
The 24-year-old’s pain and frustration were easy to understand. For the first set she went toe-to-toe with the world No. 6 and looked every bit her equal. Jabeur went 4-1 up and had a 6-5 lead when she fell. Having been seen by a doctor she lost the tie-break and from then on it was downhill.
It was a sad end to a tournament in which she revealed she wanted to become the “Naomi Osaka of Africa,” a reference to the trailblazing Japanese world No. 1 who became the first Asian to reach the summit of the rankings.
For Svitolina the win was welcome as she admitted she was far from her best, having been pushed all the way before Jabeur’s injury. The Ukrainian is seeking to become the first woman to win three Dubai titles on the trot, and said: “(Achieving the hat-trick) is definitely a big motivation for me.
“When I was 0-2 down, I told myself, ‘C’mon, you are here to make history of the tournament.’
“I didn’t really feel like in a match mood. I don’t know why. Was a bit struggling. In the end, we could say I had a very slow start. Hopefully, yeah, (next round) will be better.”


The year-old now faces Garbine Muguruza, the Spaniard having beaten Saisai Zheng 7-5, 6-2. While she is only too aware that beating the world No. 19 will be no easy task Svitolina is confident she can improve on her showing against Jabeur and create some momentum heading into the business end of the week.
“For me, I just want to have the mentality of not thinking so much who is in the other side of the net,” the 24-year-old said.
“I’m here to win matches, try to improve my game each match.
“It’s not going to be easy. It’s not easy to defend the title, to step on court just in these conditions.
“With the wind, the ball is flying a little bit. I just want to focus on myself.”
Having set her sights on sharpening her game and on an historic third title, 
Svitolina took to Twitter to praise Jabeur and wish her well in he recovery, saying: “You are a great player and I wish you health and quick recovery!”
Earlier she said: “I played against her in juniors, so obviously I know she’s a good player. She can deliver a good match.”

 


David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

Updated 24 March 2019
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David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

  • Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament
  • During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean

KOLKATA: Australia’s David Warner smashed 85 from 53 balls on his Indian Premier League comeback Sunday but his knock went in vain as Sunrisers Hyderabad lost to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Warner, who along with compatriot Steve Smith returns to the Twenty20 tournament after missing the previous edition due to a ball-tampering controversy, steered Sunrisers to 181 for three after being put into bat.
Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament after organizers stopped him for his part in the scandal.
His one-year ban from international cricket ends later this month and the 32-year-old opener is expected to make Australia’s World Cup squad and play in this summer’s Ashes series in England.
During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean, and grade cricket in Australia.
His efforts though were not enough, with Andre Russell hitting an unbeaten 49 off 19 balls as the Knight Riders won by six wickets with two balls to spare at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
A pause for a floodlight failure in the 16th over re-charged Knight Riders’ chase as Russell put together an unbeaten 65-run stand with Shubman Gill, who hit 18 runs including the winning six.
Russell struck four fours and four sixes
Earlier Warner stood out during a 118-run opening stand with England’s Jonny Bairstow, who made 39, to lay the platform for their big total.
“It is good to get out there and contribute. It looked a nice wicket to bat on but it slowed down a bit which made us reassess after six overs,” Warner said after his knock.
The Australian admitted some anxiety before his big return to IPL — and an unusual solution.
“I was a bit nervous in the dressing room and kept drinking pickle juice,” he said.
Opener Warner survived a reprieve on 38 after Knight Riders captain and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik dropped him off left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
Warner, who captained Sunrisers to their only IPL title in 2016, made the most of the spill and raced to his 37th IPL fifty with a six off Russell to signal his aggressive intent.
Bairstow was bowled by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla but Warner took the attack to the opposition, hitting nine fours and three sixes during his blitz.
Warner, who recently recovered from an elbow injury he picked in the Bangladesh Premier League, finally fell to Russell after driving the ball to cover.
Warner said his elbow “wasn’t all too bad” after doing a lot of work with his trainer back home.
Year-long bans from state and international cricket for Warner and Smith end on March 28 but the duo are keen to get among the runs in the IPL, ahead of the 50-over World Cup starting in May.
The suspension did not include club games but IPL’s governing council decided not to allow the disgraced duo in the 11th edition of the T20 league last year in a bid to avoid controversy.
The pair were banned for cheating in a Cape Town Test in March last year along with teammate Cameron Bancroft, whose nine-month ban has already finished.
Smith is expected to appear for his team Rajasthan Royals in their opening match against Kings XI Punjab in Jaipur on Monday.