Six of world’s top 10 women to play Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Six of world’s top 10 women to play Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
Updated 09 February 2016

Six of world’s top 10 women to play Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Six of world’s top 10 women to play Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

DUBAI: A stunning four of the world’s top five and six of the top 10 will compete in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA event next week after defending champion and world No. 3 Simona Halep, 2015 Dubai finalist Karolina Pliskova and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova accepted wild cards into the tournament.
“We are thrilled that once again so many of the very best players in the world have chosen to compete at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free. “Three former Dubai champions will be taking part, and four players who are or who have been ranked number one in the world will also participate. We can be certain that every day will provide great entertainment and drama as so many battles for one of the most coveted trophies in the sport. We wish everyone well and look forward to seeing who will emerge as our 2016 champion.”
Simona Halep had announced that she would have to miss the event in order to undergo surgery, but the temptation to defend her trophy at one of her favorite stops on the WTA Tour proved too much to resist. Last season was the best of her career as she not only won in Dubai but in Shenzhen and Indian Wells, and she finished as runner-up in Toronto where she had to retire with heat illness, and in Cincinnati. She was also a semifinalist in Miami, Stuttgart, Rome and at the US Open, and she finished the season as the world No. 2.
“I learned how to play without pressure when I have to defend something, to defend points or the title,” said Halep, explaining her success. “And I learned that if I’m relaxed and enjoying what I’m doing it helps me concentrate better and I can win tough matches.”
Karolina Pliskova also enjoyed an outstanding season after finishing as runner-up to Halep in Dubai. She was a finalist at four other events and won her fourth career singles title in Prague, and in August she reached a so-far career-high of seven in the rankings. She was also a semifinalist in Antwerp and Tianjin, and she capped off the year by playing a vital role in the Czech Republic’s victory over Russia in the Fed Cup final, earning two of her country’s three wins in the five match competition. Last weekend she continued to excel for her country as her three Fed Cup victories against Romania put her nation into the 2016 semifinals.
Petra Kvitova also took part in that 2015 Fed Cup triumph, and she will be bidding to re-capture the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships trophy she claimed in 2013. Winner of Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, in 2015 she won titles in Sydney, Madrid and New Haven to bring her total to 17. Kvitova also finished as runner-up at the elite WTA Finals in Singapore, and she reached the semifinals in Shenzhen. Now after a disappointing January she will be seeking to kick-start her 2016 with another triumphant run in Dubai.
“With so many top players participating not all will be able to play on center court, and that will give Dubai tennis fans the unique chance to see a number of the best players in the world competing on the outside courts free of charge,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “No other tournament in the world can offer such an opportunity. Unfortunately our 2012 champion, Agnieszka Radwanska, has had to withdraw due to injury, but she has been replaced by 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki.”
With the women’s week coinciding with half term break for many of the schools in the UAE, a host of new activities for fans of all ages are on offer both on court and in the Tennis Village. This year’s program features a busy daily schedule of children’s activities, including a kids’ tennis freestyle workshop and performances from a tennis trickster, photo opportunities with players, autograph sessions, bouncy castles, arts and crafts, face painting, sponsor activities and entertainment by the new tennis break dancer team. Along with the activities there are numerous competitions to win great prizes including the opportunity to meet and have a hit with the world’s best players, and win finals tickets.
And in a special offer this year, the Irish Village will be offering an exclusive Tennis Menu at lunchtime during the WTA week. Those who enjoy the special menu will also receive complimentary afternoon passes for the first three days of the first week, and fifteen lucky families will also win tickets to the WTA finals. More prizes are on offer for kids who enter the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships design competition in the Irish Village.
Play in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships begins with the WTA event, which takes place between 15th and 20th February and also features world number one Serena Williams, Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza, former world number ones Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic, and top teenager Belinda Bencic. Play then continues between 22nd and 27th February with the action-packed ATP tournament featuring four-time champion Novak Djokovic, Australian and French Open winner Stan Wawrinka, two-time Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych and charismatic Australian Nick Kyrgios.