Australian Open finalist and 2015 Dubai champion Simona Halep is set to thrill everyone with her outstanding fighting skills when she heads a spectacular field featuring an incredible seven of the world’s top 10 when play gets underway at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in just under two weeks’ time.
The Romanian, who began the new season as the world number one, was voted by fans as the WTA Player of the Month for January as she battled her way to the final of the first Grand Slam of the year. After injuring her ankle in the first round which put her entire Australian Open campaign in peril, she continued to keep her fans on the edge of their seats as she had to fight off three match points against Lauren Davis in a dramatic third round struggle which lasted a record-equalling three hours, 45 minutes before winning 15–13 in the third set.
More thrills were to follow as she held off two match points against Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals, winning that match 9-7 in the third, and still more nail-biting excitement was to come in the final as she fought Caroline Wozniacki for just 11 minutes short of three hours before surrendering 7–6(2), 3–6, 6–4.
That fantastic run in Melbourne came after Halep had started 2018 by claiming the Shenzhen title, not only lifting the 16th singles title of her career but her first doubles crown too. And that followed a fine end to the 2017 season during which she beat Maria Sharapova and reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to reach the final in Beijing.
Now Halep will be hoping to add yet another success to what has already been an outstanding year for her.
“Simona Halep fully deserved her Player of the Month award after a fantastic period in which she enjoyed great success and showed to one and all that she is able to overcome even the toughest challenges,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “She will arrive in Dubai full of confidence, knowing that it will take an extraordinary effort to deny her a second title here. We eagerly look forward to seeing how she fares against one of the strongest group of players ever assembled in Dubai.”
“We are delighted to welcome Simona Halep back to Dubai,” said tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “There are few players who can match her tenacity and skill, but she is sure to be stretched to the limit by a player field that features not only seven of the top 10, but a total of five players who have been ranked world number one and four who have won Grand Slam titles. It will be very exciting to see how she deals with the challenge.”
Halep heads a mouth-watering field that includes Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova, two-time Wimbledon champion and 2018 St.Petersburg winner Petra Kvitova, defending Dubai champion and recent Brisbane winner Elina Svitolina, 2018 Sydney champion and Australian Open semi-finalist Angelique Kerber, 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys, 2016 US Open finalist and former world number one Karolina Pliskova, 2018 St. Petersburg runner-up Kristina Mladenovic and Australian number one and 2018 Sydney finalist Ashleigh Barty.
Two weeks of spectacular entertainment begins with the WTA event which takes place 19th to 24th February, with the tournament continuing between 26th February and 3rd March with the 26th staging of the ATP World Tour event which is headed by ATP World Tour Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov.