Dubai: Australian Open champions Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin will headline a fantastic fortnight of tennis action when the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships get under way on February 17.
Djokovic, who will be seeking his fifth crown in Dubai, defeated Dominic Thiem on Sunday to earn a record eighth Australian Open title, a day after Sofia Kenin astounded everyone by claiming victory over former two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza in a thrilling final.
With Ashleigh Barty winning Roland Garros, Simona Halep triumphant at Wimbledon, Bianca Andreescu claiming the US Open title and Sofia Kenin lifting the Australian Open trophy, all four reigning Grand Slam holders will be bidding to add the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown to their long list of successes over the past year.
“What better way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the WTA in Dubai than by having all four Grand Slam champions here,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive vice-chairman & CEO, Dubai Duty Free. “We congratulate Sofia Kenin on playing so brilliantly to claim her maiden Grand Slam title, and Novak Djokovic on winning a remarkable eighth Australian Open. Although they made the biggest headlines, there were other spectacular successes throughout the past month by many other players who will shortly be competing in Dubai. We can look forward to a fortnight of outstanding competition.”
As well as champions Djokovic and Kenin, many other Dubai-bound players made the headlines while in Australia, none more so than eight-time DDFTC winner Roger Federer. Despite being hindered by a groin strain, he came through two of the most nail-biting battles of the 2020 Australian Open by dramatically winning the last six points of a final set tiebreak to defeat John Millman and then saving seven match points to overcome Tennys Sandgren before eventually losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Karen Khachanov could also be proud of his start to the season as he won four of his five matches in the ATP Cup, and then played a four-hour, 26-minute third round marathon against Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open, finally losing 10-8 in a fifth set tiebreak. It was the longest match of the Australian’s career.
Women’s world No. 1 Barty emerged from the first month of the season with her head held high after becoming the first Australian woman to win a title on home soil in nine years with victory in the Adelaide International final, and she followed that up by becoming the first Australian woman to reach the Australian Open semi-finals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.
Karolina Pliskova made an impressive start to 2020, securing her third Brisbane International title to become the first three-time champion there while successfully defending a title for the first time in her career, and Dubai Duty Free international ambassador and former Dubai champion Simona Halep emerged from the Australian Open as the No. 2 player in the world after a thrilling run to the semi-finals.
“So many players that will shortly be on their way to Dubai have performed with great distinction in Australia and proved that they can challenge the very best,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Sofia Kenin’s unexpected run to the Australian Open title especially underlines that even the very top players have no guarantee of success, something that has often proved to be the case at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. We can certainly look forward to a wonderful two weeks of thrills and upsets.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships begins with the WTA event which runs from February 17 to 22 February and continues between February 24 and 29 February with the ATP tournament.
Tickets are available at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.