Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Wild-Card Serena to Lead the Women’s Fray

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World No. 1 Serena Williams accepts a wild-card to participate in the 2014 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Serena Williams of the US watches the ball as she plays a return during her women's singles match against compatriot Sloane Stephens on the tenth day of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 23, 2013.  Photo credit should read PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images.
Serena Williams of the US watches the ball as she plays a return during Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 23, 2013. Photo credit should read PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images. World No. 1 Serena Williams accepts a wild-card to participate in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Just a couple of days ago, it was announced that former world no.1 Venus Williams will take her place as a wild card in an otherwise brimming line-up at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, beginning from 17th February. Now, the playing field’s has gotten even stronger with Serena Williams participating in it, accepting a last-minute wild-card with less than three days remaining for the tournament to begin.

The 17-times majors’ winner who has won tournaments across the length and breadth of the tennis world, including Olympic gold in both singles as well as doubles (partnering sister Venus) is a surprise yet no-less welcoming presence to the event. Incidentally, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is one title that has eluded Serena Williams’ extensive and comprehensive professional repertoire.

Her best performances at this event – in her previous three appearances here – have been making it to the semi-finals in 2005 (l. to Jelena Jankovic) and 2009 (l. to Venus Williams). Though her loss to Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round of the Australian Open caused an unexpected derailing to her incredible run, there’s no denying that Serena Williams will be the undoubted favourite going into the tournament.

Riding on the crest of an incredible tennis wave in the 2013 season, Serena Williams, has the fourth-most number of majors in the Open Era after Steffi Graf, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Following her loss to German Sabine Lisicki at the fourth round at Wimbledon last season, Williams finished the year undefeated; a run that extended well into this year till her fourth round upset by Ivanovic at the Australian Open this year. Given the way, she’s been playing, Serena Williams is pipped to add a couple of more majors – at the least – to her tally this year, which in turn adds an even greater significance to her decision to play at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

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