Dubai: Agnieszka Radwanska will attempt to become just the third woman to defend her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title when play gets under way at the Dubai Tennis Stadium in just under two weeks’ time.
Buoyed by her success, Poland’s number one went on to have the best season of her career so far, reaching the Wimbledon final, winning titles in Miami and Brussels and climbing to number two in the world.
Now ranked fourth, but clearly intent on reaching top spot, Radwanska has begun the 2013 season in sensational form, winning titles in both Auckland and Sydney before marching through to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, not dropping a set in her first 13 matches of the year.
Brimming with confidence, she will be a strong favourite to become a two-time winner in Dubai, emulating Justine Henin, who won back-to-back titles in 2003-04 and again in 2006-07, and Venus Williams, who triumphed in 2009 and 2010.
“With so many top players bidding for the title, Agnieszka Radwanska faces a formidable hurdle as she attempts to join the exclusive group of two-time champions here,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman of tournament owners and organisers, Dubai Duty Free.
“But she has proved over and over again that she can beat the best players in the world and it will [be] fascinating to see how she fares against one of the strongest fields ever to play at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.”
Radwanska was asked during the Australian Open why she had begun the year in such stunning fashion. “I don’t know. I didn’t really change anything,” she said.
“Of course, I was practising hard in the off-season, working a lot on my fitness. But I’m just feeling good on court. I’m just happy that I could play really my best tennis from the beginning of the year.”
Radwanska will face a considerable challenge, though, when she arrives in Dubai to face eight other members of the world’s top 10.
Top seed Victoria Azarenka proved she is also in great form this year by successfully defending her title at the Australian Open, while Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic champion Serena Williams will be anxious to follow her sister Venus onto the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships role of honour.
Further challengers for her title include 2013 Australian Open runner-up Li Na, former world number one and 2011 Dubai winner Caroline Wozniacki, 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur and 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which takes place from February 18 to March 2, is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of High Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Following the WTA event, the ATP tournament kicks off on February 25 and will feature six of the top ten men, including world number 1 Novak Djokovic and reigning Dubai champion Roger Federer.
Tickets for the event are on sale from the box office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud, which is open from 9am to 9pm daily. Grandstand ticket prices range from Dh50 for opening rounds to Dh450 for finals, with season tickets also available.
For further information about tickets, prices and the tournament, visit http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com or phone the call centre on +971 4 4172415.