Former world number one and 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki will face 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
This was revealed when the draw was made at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Saturday in the presence of Venus Williams, Samantha Stosur, Sorana Cirstea and Lucie Safarova.
A second mouth-watering clash features another former number one and the 2008 French Open champion, Ana Ivanovic, against number six seed Angelique Kerber, who ended last season by beating Ivanovic to win Linz and then last month warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the Sydney final.
First round matches between such high profile players reflects the strength of the entries for one of the most popular tournaments outside of the Grand Slams, with 2014 Australian Open semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard and 2013 US Open semifinalist Flavia Pennetta among those forced to battle through the qualifying rounds for a main draw place.
“Over the 14 years that the WTA event has taken place there have been many first round matches of the very highest quality, and the contests between Wozniacki and Lisicki and Ivanovic and Kerber promise to be among the best we have seen,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free.
“They are just two of the exciting matches that will take place in the first few days of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which features no less than seven of the top 10 players in the world.”
Such is the strength of the tournament that former two-time champion Venus Williams needed a wild card to compete, and she will tackle Elena Vesnina in the first round for the right to meet either Kerber or Ivanovic.
Top seed Serena Williams has a bye into the second round, where she could face recent Pattaya winner Ekaterina Makarova, and second seed and 2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska will face either a qualifier or 2009 Dubai semifinalist Kaia Kanepi.
Third seed and defending champion Petra Kvitova will face either former world number three Nadia Petrova or Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
Fourth seed Sara Errani, who finished as runner-up to Kvitova in 2013, also receives a bye and then could face either Sorana Cirstea or her doubles partner and the player she beat in last year’s semifinals, Roberta Vinci.
Former world number one and fifth seeded Jelena Jankovic will play a qualifier in the first round, and seventh seed and WTA Most Improved Player of 2013 Simona Halep faces Alize Cornet.
“Spectators are assured of seeing many of the world’s top players right from the first day, and some of them will appear on the outside courts where admittance is free. There is no greater value for tennis fans anywhere else in the world,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.
Main draw play begins on Monday February 17 and continues until February 22, followed by the ATP tournament which takes place from February 24 to March 1.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Tickets for the event are on sale from the Box Office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud which is open from 9am to 9pm daily.
Grandstand ticket prices range from Dh75 for opening rounds to Dh500 for finals, with season tickets also available.
Tickets are still available for every day of the women’s week.
For further information about tickets, prices and the tournament visit http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com or phone the call centre on
+971 4 4172415.
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