Elena Rybakina at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
PHOTO BY JONATHAN YBERA/EXPAT MEDIA
This February, the world’s best female tennis players will line-up to contest the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and strive for a share of a prize purse worth $2.9 million.
Taking place from February 19 to 25, the annual WTA event will see World No.1 Iga Swiatek lead an elite field featuring 18 of the 20 top-ranked players on the planet, including last month’s Australian Open winner Aryna Sabalenka.
Here’s a closer look at the top 10 female players to watch in Dubai:
The Polish star is ranked World No.1 and has won three Grand Slam singles titles: The French Open in both 2020 and 2022, as well as last year’s US Open. She won eight titles in 2022, the most since Serena Williams won 11 in 2013, and she achieved the record century-long 37-match winning streak, going 135 days without losing. She wants to avenge the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships second-round defeat she suffered at the hands of Jelena Ostapenko.
Aryna Sabalenka is heading to Dubai fresh from being crowned a Grand Slam winner at last month’s Australian Open. Previous to her Melbourne triumph, the Belarusian had never progressed past the semi-finals at a major tournament. Her victory over Elena Rybakina, just months after advancing to the final four at the US Open for a second consecutive year, saw her climb to World No.2.
The American holds a career-high World No. 3 singles and doubles ranking and has won two singles titles, five doubles titles, five WTA Tour doubles titles, seven ITF doubles titles, and a WTA Challenger doubles title. She has advanced to the singles quarterfinals of five Grand Slam tournaments, including the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open, and is now ranked No. 4 in the world.
Garcia is ranked World No.5 and will return to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as the WTA Finals 2022 champion. Starting last season having slipped to a lowly World No.79 as a result of various health and injury concerns, her performances in 2022 saw her shoot back up the rankings to finish the year once again inside the world’s top five.
Only 18 years old, many believe that the American’s rise to the top of the world rankings is simply a matter of time. At the 2022 French Open, she not only reached the singles final, but the doubles final too. The youngest player to qualify for a singles competition since Maria Sharapova in 2005, she is ranked No. 6 in the world and looking upwards.
The Greek-born World No.7 last year beat then-World No.3 Paula Badosa on her way to the Italian Open semi-finals and reached the last four of the French Open before falling to World No.1 Swiatek. Looking to build on such performances, she arrives in Dubai seeking a second WTA Tour title to add to the 2019 Morocco Open.
Kasatkina entered the WTA Top 10 in late 2018 and, after a few ups and downs, finished last year ranked World No.8. The 25-year-old returns to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for a seventh consecutive year, looking to improve on her 2018 performance, which saw her reach the final.
World No. 9 Bencic lifted the trophy in Dubai in 2019 after defeating defending champion Petra Kvitova in the final. Since then, the Swiss has taken her career record to seven singles titles – including a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – and two wins in doubles. Bencic, who turned professional in 2012, was beaten by Aryna Sabalenka in the Australian Open last month.
Elena Rybakina, the World No.10 and top-ranked tennis player in Kazakhstan, is the reigning Wimbledon champion and the first Kazakh to win a major championship. She also came close to winning the Australian Open final in a thrilling battle with Aryna Sabalenka, who secured her maiden Grand Slam title.
The World No.11 seed reached the final of last year’s tournament where she was beaten in straight sets by Jelena Ostapenko. She did, however, claim the WTA Finals doubles championship alongside Elise Mertens. Kudermetova has a career-high singles ranking of World No.9 and a best WTA doubles ranking of No. 2.
Tickets for the championships are available on dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com, starting from Dh55. Tickets are also available at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium Box Office between 9am and 9pm daily.
This month’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will start with the 23rd staging of the WTA event from February 19 to 25, before the 31st staging of the ATP Tour 500 tournament from February 26 to March 4. ICA/Expat Media
New UAE sports law: sports activities to require authority approval, and all you need to know
Dubai Fitness Challenge 2023 to begin on October 28
UAE unemployment insurance nets 5.73 million subscribers ahead of October 1 deadline
Dubai Government reduces public debt by Dh29 billion
Geoffrey Travel opens Dubai office
Trevor Noah, Sean Paul coming to Dubai in October
Emirati girl drowns in pool: Dubai court cancels deportation for 5 hotel employees, orders Dh200,000 blood money
Biggest burger in Dubai? This monster burger weighs 10kg
Driverless bus goes on Dubai test run, best prototypes to win $2.3 million challenge
Dubai to deport 3 Asian expats for kidnapping, robbery
Hit-and-run in UAE: Offenders face jail, Dh20,000 fine
Free beauty masterclasses at Nakheel Mall