With just two weeks to go for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the excitement is building as the world's best players prepare to go head to head in Dubai in what promises to be two weeks of scintillating tennis.
While Australian Open Champions and world number ones Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka will be determined to continue their winning form, there will be several players keen to avenge their early round exits in Melbourne.
Petra Kvitova is one such player. Touted just two weeks ago as the next World Number 1, her loss to Maria Sharapova in the semifinals of the Australian Open saw her number one ranking and second Grand Slam title aspirations shatter as Azarenka leap-frogged her to take the ranking along with her first Grand Slam title.
However Kvitova is not to be dismissed lightly and her desire to take the number one spot she was in line for will make her a real threat in Dubai. Although the Czech left hander was beaten in the first round in Dubai last year by 57th-ranked Ayumi Morita, that was a rare blip on her astonishing rise to super-stardom. She arrived in Dubai directly after winning the Paris Indoors title, and went on to stun the tennis world by claiming her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
“Many people were surprised when Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon last year, but she proved she was not a two-week wonder by adding a number of other prestigious titles as the year progressed,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free. “We are delighted to welcome her back here once again and look forward to seeing one of the most exciting players to have emerged from the Czech Republic in many years.”
Following her Wimbledon success, Kvitova went on to win the end-of-season WTA Championships as well as lead her country to the Fed Cup title. In addition to Wimbledon and Paris, she also won titles in Brisbane, Madrid and Linz, proving her versatility by claiming titles on all surfaces. This year she maintained her momentum as she teamed with Tomas Berdych to win the Hopman Cup, before reaching the semi-finals of both Sydney and the Australian Open.
Her outstanding success has resulted in her winning several awards, including WTA Player Of The Year, Most Improved Player Of The Year, Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award (voted for by her fellow players) and Fan Favourite Breakthrough Player.
Although she will be one of the leading contenders to add the Dubai title to her growing list of achievements, she faces some formidable hurdles with not only Azarenka in winning form, but also defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, French Open winner Li Na and US Open champion Sam Stosur all with their sights firmly set on walking away with the title.
Tennis fans in Dubai are in for a real treat as with so many top ranked players competing here even early round games will offer some outstanding matches featuring the world's best.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and not only will the tennis be riveting, but the celebrations off court are ramping up and will offer something for everyone. From dressing to impress on Ladies Day to breaking out your most outrageous tennis fan outfit on Fantastic Fan day, to getting treasured autographs from top players, the action in the tennis village will be nonstop.
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. Play begins on February 20 with the WTA Tour event and continues from February 27 with the ATP tournament.
Tickets for the event are available from the Box Office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud which opens from 9am to 9pm daily. Grandstand tickets can also be bought online at http://www.timeouttickets.com/. For further information about tickets, prices and tournaments visit http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/ or phone the call centre on +971 4 358 9797.