The Insider Wrap is a recap of everything you need to know from the week that was. This week, WTA Insider looks back at the 2022 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the WTA 500 that kicked off the tour's Middle East swing.

Performance of the Week: Jelena Ostapenko

The 24-year-old Latvian has been quietly building towards a big result. But her winning week at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was incredibly impressive even by her standards. To win her fifth career title and biggest on a hard court, Ostapenko defeated four consecutive major champions - Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova, and Simona Halep - before dominating Veronika Kudermetova in the final

Last summer, Ostapenko won her biggest title since 2017 Roland Garros, dominating the grass in Eastbourne. She went on to make the Luxembourg final (l. Tauson) and Indian Wells semifinals (l. Azarenka) and came into Dubai this year off a semifinal run in St. Petersburg (l. Kontaveit). Everything finally came together in Dubai, where she came back from a set down in successive matches against Swiatek, Kvitova, and Halep. In doing so, she became the first player in 2022 to save match point en route to a title, doing so here against Kvitova. 

With her two WTA 500 titles and WTA 1000 semifinal in the last 12 months, Ostapenko will return to the Top 20 for the first time since 2018, rising to No.13. 

Surprise of the Week: Veronika Kudermetova

On the theme of beating major champions in Dubai, Kudermetova opened her campaign with wins over Victoria Azarenka and defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza en route to her second final of the season (Melbourne 1). The 24-year-old will rise six spots to a new career-high ranking at No.25 on Monday. 

Kudermetova also solidified her new doubles partnerships with Elise Mertens, as the duo took their first team title.

Honor Roll

Simona Halep: With wins over Alison Riske, Elena-Gabriela Ruse, and No.10 Ons Jabeur, Halep advanced to her second semifinal of the season in Dubai. She has now made the semifinals or better at four of her last five tournaments.

Petra Kvitova: The Czech had a match point on Ostapenko in the Round of 16, but the loss should not overshadow her improved play in Dubai. After a frustrating start to the season, Kvitova struck the ball big and clean in a week that was highlighted by her 6-4, 6-4 win over No.2 Aryna Sabalenka. She'll move up four spots to No.21.

Dayana Yastremska: The former World No.21 successfully qualified by defeating Clara Tauson in the second round of qualifying, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, and then knocked off No.2 seed Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets before losing to Marketa Vondrousova in three. 

Elena-Gabriela Ruse: The Romanian will reach a new career-high at No.56 after Dubai, having successfully qualified and then earning her first Top 10 win, defeating Paula Badosa 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. It's been a steady rise for the 24-year-old, who was ranked well outside the Top 150 at the start of the 2021 season.

Notable Numbers

1: Main draw wins for Jelena Ostapenko in Dubai before her title run this year.

2: Finals made by Veronika Kudermetova in 2022, tying Ashleigh Barty for the most finals so far this season.

4: Players who have more Top 10 wins than Petra Kvitova since she turned pro in 2006 - Serena Williams (106), Maria Sharapova (83), Victoria Azarenka, 72, and Caroline Wozniacki (60). Kvitova's win over Sabalenka in Dubai was her 58th. 

2010: The year Simona Halep made her first WTA semifinal. Since then, only Serena has made more semifinals than Halep, who made her 61st semifinal in Dubai. 

2016: The last time before this year that two unseeded players faced off for the Doha title. 

2018: The last time two players faced each other in both finals of a tournament before Jelena Ostapenko and Veronika Kudermetova did so in Doha. That came at 2018 Lugano, when Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka split the singles and doubles title.

Quote of the Week: Jelena Ostapenko

"When I'm in the final, I always want to win because, as many people say, people remember only winners. It's always, like, annoying to lose in the final."

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