Dubai: Australian Open finalist and 2015 Dubai champion Simona Halep has confirmed her return for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in just under two weeks’ time, taking the tally of attending world’s top 10 women to seven.
The Romanian, who began the new season as the World No. 1, was voted by fans as the WTA Player of the Month for January as she battled her way to the final of the first Grand Slam of the year. After injuring her ankle in the first round, which put her entire Australian Open campaign in peril, she continued to keep fans on the edge of their seats as she had to fight off three match points against Lauren Davis in a dramatic third round struggle, which lasted a record-equalling three hours, 45 minutes, before she won 15–13 in the third set.
More thrills followed as she held off two match points against Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals, winning that match 9-7 in the third, and still more nail-biting excitement was to come in the final, as she fought Caroline Wozniacki for just 11 minutes short of three hours before surrendering 7–6, 3–6, 6–4.
That fantastic run in Melbourne came after Halep started 2018 by claiming the Shenzhen title, not only by lifting the 16th singles title of her career but her first doubles crown too. And that followed a fine end to the 2017 season during which she beat Maria Sharapova and reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to reach the final in Beijing.
Now Halep will be hoping to add yet another success to what has already been an outstanding start to the new year for her.
She leads a field that includes Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova, two-time Wimbledon champion and 2018 St Petersburg winner Petra Kvitova, defending Dubai champion and recent Brisbane winner Elina Svitolina, 2018 Sydney champion and Australian Open semi-finalist Angelique Kerber, 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys, 2016 US Open finalist and former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, 2018 St Petersburg runner-up Kristina Mladenovic and Australian No. 1 and 2018 Sydney finalist Ashleigh Barty.
The WTA women’s event runs from February 19 to 24, with the men’s ATP tournament following on from February 26 to March 3. The men’s event is headlined by ATP World Tour Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov.
Tickets range from Dh55 in the opening rounds of the WTA event to Dh735 in the ATP finals, and are available online via www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.comand from the box office, which is open from 9am to 9pm daily.