x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dubai Tennis Championship to host the best again

From February 14-20 the Dubai Tennis Championship at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre will see grand slam winners and former world No 1s return.

Fans at the Dubai Championship have been fortunate to see so many stars in action. Pawan Singh / The National
Fans at the Dubai Championship have been fortunate to see so many stars in action. Pawan Singh / The National

As usual, the women's Dubai Championship will not lack for star power. Not when the world No 1, four former No 1s and seven of the current top 10 have committed to play in the annual event at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre.

Caroline Wozniacki holds pride of place as the current No 1, but the Dane faces competition from Venus Williams, the defending champion, as well as the three other former world No 1s who are planning to play in Dubai, Russia's Maria Sharapova and Serbia's Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic.

The US$2.05million (Dh7.5m) event, scheduled for February 14-20, also features Vera Zvonareva, the Russian world No 2 who was a two-time grand slam finalist in 2010, as well as the players ranked Nos 5-8, Williams, the American; Australian's Samantha Stosur, Italy's Francesca Schiavone and Jankovic.

Also entered is the 2010 Dubai runner-up Victoria Azarenka, the Belarussian who is No 10.

Colm McLoughlin, the managing director of the tournament owners Dubai Duty Free, said organisers are "delighted that so many grand slam champions and world No 1s are back here with us once again".

All the world's top 10 were expected to play at the 2010 Dubai event, but Nos 1 and 2, Serena Williams and Dinara Safina, did not compete. The top 10 players not expected this year are Serena Williams, who is No 4 but has not played since Wimbledon; Kim Clijsters, who is No 3 and playing a reduced schedule, and Elene Dementieva, ranked No 9 despite having announced her retirement last October.

However, 28 of the world's top 35 are planning to be in Dubai, a ratio which rivals any event that is not a grand slam.

Organisers are pleased that the 43 players entered represent 24 countries. Among them is Israel, as represented by No 13-ranked Shahar Peer. "It is fitting that the diversity of nationalities in Dubai is reflected in the number of countries represented" in the tournament, McLoughlin said. "We welcome them all."

The semi-finalists from 2010 all plan to return, with Agnieszka Radwanska, the Pole, joining Venus Williams, Azarenka and Peer.

Tickets are on sale from 10am until 9pm daily at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud, or online at www.timeouttickets.com.