Tough Draw for the Top Seed in Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which begins tomorrow.
Top seed Simona Halep could face a tough quarter-final challenge at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after the draw was made today.
The world number three, who reached her first Grand Slam final last year in Paris, finished as runner-up at the prestigious WTA Finals in Singapore and last month won the Shenzhen title, could meet Australian Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova or the newest member of the top 10, Andrea Petkovic, who are scheduled to clash in the third round.
Another mouth-watering quarter-final battle between two former Dubai champions is on the cards if second seed Petra Kvitova and fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska can come through their early challenges.
The top eight seeds receive a bye into the second round, when Halep will face former top five star Daniela Hantuchova or Mona Barthel. Kvitova opens against rising star Elina Svitolina or emerging American CoCo Vandeweghe. Third seeded Caroline Wozniacki will face a qualifier or former US Open champion Samantha Stosur, and fourth seed Ana Ivanovic takes on former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki or Monica Niculescu.
Agnieszka Radwanska will play either a qualifier or Caroline Garcia in her opening match, and sixth seeded Ekaterina Makarova also faces a qualifier or recent Hobart winner Heather Watson. Angelique Kerber is seeded seven and she faces a tough second round against either former two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova or former Dubai semi-finalist Kaia Kanepi, and eighth seed and defending champion Venus Williams will play rising Swiss star Belinda Bencic or Karin Knapp.
“It is disappointing that Serena Williams has had to withdraw as she has been unable to recover from the illness that clearly affected her at the Australian Open, and that Eugenie Bouchard has had to postpone her debut here due to an arm injury, but once again we are delighted to still be able to welcome to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships many of the very best players in the world,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organizers.
“Venus Williams thrilled us all in 2014 when she claimed her third title here, and since then she has gone from strength to strength. Just last month she enjoyed her best result at a Grand Slam in five years when she reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and she is now at her highest ranking in nearly four years, and it would be no surprise at all if she can repeat what she did in 2010 and successfully defend her title.”
Williams faces a daunting challenge as she bids for an incredible 47th career title, with many opponents who have excelled both in Dubai and on other big stages around the world.
“Although Venus Williams is in tremendous form, having already won a title this year in Auckland, she will have to compete at the very highest level if she is to overcome one of the strongest fields to gather outside of the Grand Slams,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak. “We have many fantastic matches in prospect, especially a possible quarter-final clash between former Dubai champions Petra Kvitova and Agnieszka Radwanska. Another intriguing match we can look forward to is a possible meeting between 2014 runner-up Alize Cornet and 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA event takes place between 15th and 21st February and features defending champion Venus Williams, Wimbledon champion and 2013 Dubai winner Petra Kvitova, French Open and WTA Finals runner-up Simona Halep, former Dubai winners Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki, Brisbane runner-up Ana Ivanovic, Australian Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova and recent Sydney semi-finalist Angelique Kerber.
Play then continues between 23rd and 28th February with the action-packed ATP tournament which stars world number one and Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, defending Dubai champion Roger Federer, Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray and two-time Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych.