Dubai: It will be a clash to remember on Monday as four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters makes her second WTA comeback against Spanish Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza.
Organisers Dubai Duty Free had to reshuffle the women’s singles draw early on Sunday after Clijsters’ first round opponent Kiki Bertens pulled out of the tournament after reaching the final of the WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy where she will face Kazakhstan’s fast rising star, Elena Rybakina.
Bertens’ place will now be taken up by wild card Muguruza, while a seventh spot will open up for a lucky loser into the main draw.
A former world number one, Muguruza has won two majors – the 2016 French Open and The Championships in 2017. Clijsters, who last played on the WTA in 2012, has four majors against her name – the US Open on three occasions (2005, 2009 and 2010) and the 2011 Australian Open.
The qualifying round draw was expanded from 32 to 48 by the WTA following the cancellation of the 2020 Hungarian Ladies Open that was also scheduled to take place this week. Consequently, there will now be seven qualifiers (along with the lucky loser) instead of the normal four with the additional 16 spots being reserved for players who had been entered in Debrecen.