Spanish tennis star Garbine Muguruza.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
DUBAI – Two-time Grand Slam champion and 2020 Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza has received a wild card and will join the stellar field that competes next week in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The regal Spaniard, who won the French Open in 2016 and followed up with a Wimbledon triumph in 2017, made a stunning run to the final of the Australian Open last month but was denied a third Grand Slam crown in a dramatic battle that kept everyone on the edge of their seat right up until the last ball had been struck.
That spectacular march to the final included victories over two-time Dubai winner Elina Svitolina and reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, and it took an heroic effort from feisty American Sofia Kenin to stop her adding to her collection of Grand Slam trophies.
Muguruza has sometimes struggled with consistency and she ended last year ranked a modest 36. Her success in Melbourne though returned her to the top 20 and her best ranking in almost a year.
“I think it’s a great start of the year, for sure,” she said. “I don’t think at all about the previous years – even the good ones or the bad ones. I feel like, ‘What for?’ I got the best out of it, good or bad. I just started a new year. I have a new team. I didn’t disappear. I was there. Not reaching final rounds, for sure. I’m just going to a tournament, see how far I can go.”
This will be Muguruza’s sixth consecutive time at the Dubai tennis open and she has twice been a semi-finalist.
Muguruza joins a fantastic field that includes the eagerly anticipated return of tennis Hall of Famer Kim Clijsters, as well as 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin, 2017 and 2018 Dubai champion Elina Svitolina, Dubai defending champion Belinda Bencic and recent Brisbane winner Karolina Pliskova.
The tournament will also include Qiang Wang, who just last month stunned Serena Williams in the third round of the Australian Open after already reaching the quarter-finals of the Shenzhen Open. She is joined by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who also enjoyed a successful run in Melbourne, reaching the quarter-finals after defeating world number 2 Karolina Pliskova and then three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, before her run was ended by Muguruza.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships begins with the 20th anniversary celebrations of the WTA event which runs from February 17 to 22, and continues between February 24 and 29 with the ATP tournament which features reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, eight-time Dubai winner Roger Federer, 2019 ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and 2018 Dubai winner Roberto Bautista Agut.
Tickets are available at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.
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