A surprising final has officially been set for the 2014 edition of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, as former world No. 1 Venus Williams and French No. 1 Alize Cornet will meet tomorrow afternoon to battle for the trophy. Many fans anticipated a clash between the Williams sisters in the final, yet Cornet threw a wrench into those plans, as she stormed into the final with a straight sets victory over the world No. 1. This will mark the fourth time Cornet and Venus meet on the WTA tour, with Venus leading the head-to-head series with 3-0.
44th ranked Venus Williams extended her wining streak in Dubai to 14 consecutive matches, with her victory over Caroline Wozniacki on Friday afternoon. Venus hit 22 winners to earn the 6-3, 6-2 win over the world No. 11, setting up a finals clash with younger sister and world No. 1 Serena Williams. Williams, who took a wildcard into the Dubai event this year, has won the tournament in her last two appearances and will be looking to extend that winning streak further with a victory over Cornet, who vanquished the younger Williams sister in the semi-final. Having defeated two former world No. 1’s en route to the final, it is clear that Venus is in fantastic form this week and will make for an entertaining final clash tomorrow evening.
“I feel like I’ve just gotten so much better since my first round to now, feeling comfortable on the court, feeling comfortable when I’m behind, feeling comfortable when I’m in the lead. It reminds me of when I first came on tour, just having to learn a lot, and I feel like I’m learning those lessons all over again. I had a lot of tough losses, and I realized I had to go through it,” Williams continued. “I felt like every time I got better. Even if I didn’t necessarily get the result I wanted, I realized I was getting better. For me, and for every player, you just have to keep stepping up to the line and believing in yourself.”
French No. 1 Alize Cornet broke up an all-Williams final for Saturday’s final, producing her career-best performance to defeat the top seed in straight sets and reach the final. It was a remarkable victory for Cornet, who was 0-17 against Top 4 competitors prior to this encounter, and her last victory over a Top 10 opponent was in 2008. The French native broke Williams in the opening set to snatch the lead 6-4 and continued to play outstanding tennis in the second, as she hit some extraordinary angle shots that the world No. 1 was simply unable to handle on this particular day.
This will be Cornet’s second Premier-level final, six years after her last one in Rome, where she finished runner-up to Jelena Jankovic.
Venus has defeated Cornet in all three of their previous encounters on the tour, with the latest taking place at last year’s Australian Open event. Two of the victories were on the hard court surface, while the third took place on clay. Venus has always been comfortable on the Dubai surface and is currently riding a 14-match win streak at this tournament – a hefty momentum streak that Cornet will only snap if she manages another match at this particular skill level. After a contest such as that in the semi-final, it would be hard to predict against Cornet, who appears to have all the momentum in her favour, but Venus has also been in top form this week and is a proven champion on this surface.
Prediction: Alize Cornet in Three Sets