Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 October 2019

Maria Sharapova and Amanda Anisimova to contest women's match at Mubadala World Tennis Championship 2019

Former world No 1 and teen sensation set to face off in Abu Dhabi at the exhibition tournament in December

Maria Sharapova has won five grand slam titles and spent 21 weeks as the world No 1. Reuters
Maria Sharapova has won five grand slam titles and spent 21 weeks as the world No 1. Reuters

Five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova and teen sensation Amanda Anisimova have been confirmed for the one-off women's match at the 2019 Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) in Abu Dhabi.

Sharapova, 32, remains one of the biggest names in women's tennis having spent 21 weeks as the world No 1, while the Russian is only the 10th female player in history to win the career Grand Slam of all four major titles.

Sharapova, who is ranked No 137 after an injury-disrupted season, announced herself to the world in 2004 when, as a 17-year-old, she won her first major title at Wimbledon, becoming the the third youngest women's champion in the tournament's history.

“I’ve been told December is a great time of year to visit and I want everyone to come and join us in having some fun,” Sharapova said.

Anisimova, meanwhile, has emerged as one of the most exciting talents on the WTA Tour. The 18-year-old American, currently ranked No 29, reached her first grand slam semi-final at the French Open in June and won her maiden WTA Tour title at the Bogota Open earlier in the season.

At the time of the MWTC announcement, Sharapova and Anisimova are yet to meet each other in a WTA Tour match.

“I will be making my first visit to Abu Dhabi and I want to make sure I’m bringing my A-game to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and show the spectators what I can do,” Anisimova said.

A women's match will be held at the exhibition tournament for the third year in a row, following Serena Williams' contest against Jelena Ostapenko in the inaugural match in 2017, before the American great faced her sister Venus at last year's event. On both occasions, the 23-time grand slam winner lost in a third-set championship tiebreak.

Now entering its 12th edition, MWTC – which is played at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City – takes place over three days and has become a popular event for top male players looking to fine-tune their game ahead of a new season.

Amanda Anisimova reached her first grand slam semi-final at the French Open in June. AFP
Amanda Anisimova reached her first grand slam semi-final at the French Open in June. AFP

The tournament sees six ATP Tour players compete, with the top two seeds receiving byes to the semi-finals.

World No 2 Rafael Nadal, who is the joint-most successful player at MWTC with four titles alongside Novak Djokovic, will headline the men's event and will be joined by world No 4 Daniil Medvedev.

Nadal and Medvedev most recently met in a US Open final classic in September, when the Spaniard won his 19th grand slam title after edging out the Russian in five sets.

“Confirming four of the biggest names in tennis in a matter of days demonstrates the appeal of this championship amongst the players and its attraction for domestic and international visitors who will get an unmissable experience,” said John Lickrish, CEO of event organisers Flash Entertainment.

Traditionally scheduled between Christmas and New Year, the 2019 MWTC has been moved to an earlier slot of December 19-21.

Tickets start from Dh100 for adults and are now on sale at www.ticketmaster.ae and Virgin Megastores across the UAE. Three-day and travel packages are also available with a 20 per cent discount.

Premier hospitality packages are also on sale, offering fans a premium food and beverage menu, courtside seating, exclusive Q&A sessions with a star player and much more.

As well as three days of tennis, visitors to MWTC will be able to enjoy all the offerings of the Tennis Village, including coaching clinics for children, Q&A sessions with the players, and competitions. Day 1 is also Kids' Day, with children 12 and under going free.

More details are available on www.mubadalawtc.com.

Updated: October 3, 2019 06:19 PM

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