The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Women’s Open will kick into gear on Monday with some intriguing match-ups on the cards over the coming week.
The tournament draw, conducted electronically for the first time, took place on Saturday with the official ceremony attended by George Horan, Deputy Managing Director – Dubai Duty Free, Salah Tahlak, Director – Corporate Communications Dubai Duty Free & Tournament Director, Abdul Rahman Falaknaz – Vice-President, Tennis Emirates, Donna Kelso – WTA Supervisor, as well as four of the players who will be in action this week: French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, world number five Samantha Stosur, world number eight Jelena Jankovic and former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli.
“It is fantastic to be able to welcome everybody back to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as we look ahead to a week of incredible entertainment in the WTA tournament here,” said Horan.
“The success of a tournament is often determined by the entry and we are delighted by the fact that eight of the world’s top 10 players will be in action here this week,” he added.
“What a fantastic fortnight of tennis we have to look forward to, starting with the women’s tournament on Monday,” added Salah Talak, Tournament Director. “Dubai tennis fans get to see eight of the top ranked women in the world in action, along with the likes of Ana Ivanovic who is working her way back to the top 10.”
Talak announced the players who have been awarded wild card entries into the tournament: Sania Mirza of India, who is always a crowd favourite in Dubai, Jelena Dokic of Australia and Serbian Bojana Jovanovski.
There will certainly be plenty to look forward to at the Dubai Tennis Stadium this week. Top seed Caroline Wozniacki will have a bye in the first round and will meet the winner of the clash between Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova and Anna Chakvetadze of Russia in the second.
Also handed a bye in the first round, second seed Vera Zvonareva will face the winner of Roberta Vinci v Elena Vesnina in the second round.
Meanwhile some of the more intriguing first round clashes include former world number one Ana Ivanovic who will take on Switzerland’s former world number seven Patty Schnyder, while Bartoli will face Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm.
Date-Krumm retired from the game in 1996 but returned to action in 2009. At the age of 40, last year saw her becoming the oldest recorded player to reach a WTA final in Osaka and she remains tough to beat.
Another interesting encounter to keep an eye on will be Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium v wild card Jovanovski. The winner of that match will go on to face Australian Open finalist Li Na in the second round.
Also of particular interest will be wild card Jelena Dokic’s first round clash against Flavia Pennetta of Italy.
“I love being in Dubai and I’m going to try my hardest to get further than in previous years,” said Bartoli. “I’m just really looking forward to getting started now.”
Schiavone is also relishing the prospect of getting her Dubai campaign started. “It’s been a great year for me and obviously I am always trying to improve. I’m looking forward to playing here and to having a good tournament,” she said.
The Italian star will have a bye in the first round and will then take on the winner of a clash between Yaroslava Shvedova and one of the tournament qualifiers in the second.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is held under the patronage of His Higness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Play begins on Monday with the WTA Tour event and continues with the ATP tournament from February 21st that includes Australian Open and reigning Dubai champion Novak Djokovic, four-time Dubai winner Roger Federer and Australian Open finalist Andy Murray.
Tickets to the action are still available from both the Stadium’s Box Office and online at www.timeouttickets.com. For further information about the tournament, visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com or phone the call centre on +971 4 358 9797.