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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Svitolina, Muguruza, Ostapenko and Kerber: Players to watch at WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 

A strong entry list has signed up for the 18th staging of the women's competition in Dubai, which takes place between February 19 and 24.

Elina Svitolina is the defending champion at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Tracey Nearmy / EPA
Elina Svitolina is the defending champion at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Tracey Nearmy / EPA

Ahead of the start of the women's competition at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship on Monday, here is a looking at some of the leading players to watch out for.

Elina Svitolina is now up to No 3 in the WTA world rankings. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Elina Svitolina is now up to No 3 in the WTA world rankings. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Elina Svitolina

World Ranking 3

Nationality Ukrainian

Age 23

Best performance in Dubai 2017 winner

Triumphing in last year's final, where she beat Wozniacki to lift the title, was the catalyst for Svitolina's surge to the top of the women's game.

Victory in Dubai saw her go up into the top 10 for the first time in her career, and he has kicked on since then and is now world No 3.

Has had a good start to 2018, winning in Brisbane and reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

She is bidding to be only the third player, after Justine Henin and Venus Williams, to successfully defend the Dubai title.

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Garbine Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion. Bradley Kanaris / Getty Images
Garbine Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion. Bradley Kanaris / Getty Images

Garbine Muguruza

World ranking 4

Nationality Spanish

Age 24

Best performance in Dubai 2015 semi-finalist

The Wimbledon champion is struggling with inconsistency. When she is at her best she can be unstoppable, as her charge to the Wimbledon title last July showed.

Has not had a great start to 2018, her second round exit in the Australian Open a real disappointment, but if she can find her best form then she can be a genuine threat to the rest of the field in Dubai.

Karolina Pliskova reached the 2015 final in Dubai. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Karolina Pliskova reached the 2015 final in Dubai. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Karolina Pliskova

World ranking 5

Nationality Czech Republic

Age 25

Best performance in Dubai 2015 runner-up

Pliskova has had a consistent start to the year with a semi-final in Brisbane and a quarter-final finish at the Australian Open.

Her power from the back of the court means she will always be a force to be reckoned with. Goes well in Dubai as her run to the final in 2015 highlights.

Jelena Ostapenko will be back in the UAE to play in Abu Dhabi just two months after she beat Serena Williams at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Nezar Balout / AFP Photo
Jelena Ostapenko will be back in the UAE to play in Abu Dhabi just two months after she beat Serena Williams at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Nezar Balout / AFP Photo

Jelena Ostapenko

World ranking 6

Nationality Latvian

Age 20

Best performance in Dubai 2016 Last 32

The 2017 French Open champion is back in Dubai for the third time in her career.

It is a quick return for the Latvian to the UAE after she made history with Serena Williams in December by playing in the first women's match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

Has not recaptured her form of 2017 so far this year, highlighted by her third round exit at the Australian Open.

Angelique Kerber has started 2018 in impressive fashion. Tracey Nearmy / EPA
Angelique Kerber has started 2018 in impressive fashion. Tracey Nearmy / EPA

Angelique Kerber

World ranking 9

Nationality German

Age 30

Best performance in Dubai 2017 Semi-finalist

Kerber appears to have re-found the form that took her to the world No 1 spot in 2016 and saw her win two majors.

She won in Sydney and reached the semi-finals in the Australian Open before losing an epic match with Halep.

Her run to the semi-finals in Dubai 12 months ago was one of her better performances in a dismal 2017, and she should be a real contender for the title this time around.

Petra Kvitova is in good form ahead of competing in Dubai. Milan Kammermayer / Reuters
Petra Kvitova is in good form ahead of competing in Dubai. Milan Kammermayer / Reuters

Petra Kvitova

World ranking 21

Nationality Czech Republic

Age 27

Best performance in Dubai 2013 winner

Kvitova appears to be putting the trauma of the knife attack in her home by an intruder in December 2016 that left her with injuries to her left hand.

The double Wimbledon champion won in St Petersburg earlier in February and is moving back up the rankings and is now at No 21.

The 2013 Dubai winner will be someone the top seeds will be keen to avoid in the early rounds.

Grandstand ticket prices for the WTA event start at Dh55 for opening rounds to Dh735 for the ATP final (the men's event runs from February 26 to March 3), with daily Prime A and Prime B tickets and season tickets also available. Tickets are available at the box office, open from 9am-9pm every day.

Go to http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/en/tickets for ticket sales.