Garbine Muguruza on her way to winning the Dubai Tennis Championships title in 2021. Image Credit: Courtesy: DDF

Dubai: Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza is ready to defend her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title in just a few days from now.

Coached by former world No 1 Conchita Martinez, the elegant Spaniard has been a welcome visitor to Dubai since 2015 and had several times made great strides towards the title before ending her week by hoisting the much sought-after trophy in 2021.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Garbine Muguruza for the eighth successive year,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “In that time she has not only won the title but reached the semi-finals on two further occasions, and after such a successful 2021 season she is certain to be a strong contender here once again.”

Although she dropped just one set on her way to the title, she struggled to gain the upper hand against Barbora Krejcikova in the final, barely edging the first set in a tiebreak before also winning the second set.

“It was a tricky match,” said Muguruza after her victory. “I didn’t have a feel for her. We never practised together, we never played before. I had to work so hard in the first set. The difference was one point and I’m happy it went my way. I think she played great.”

Spanish contingent

Following her triumph in Dubai, where she became the first Spanish woman to claim the title following wins by compatriots Alex Corretja, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut, the former French Open and Wimbledon champion went on to enjoy an excellent season that culminated with her lifting the winner’s trophy at the season-ending WTA Finals.

In between, she won a further title in Chicago with a three-set victory over Ons Jabeur, before wins in four of her five matches at the WTA Finals ended her year on a triumphant note with a career-best three titles in a season. Now she is looking forward to the challenge of defending her Dubai title.

“It is never easy to defend a title as expectations are high and that brings added pressure to perform well,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “But Muguruza has been up to the task before as she successfully defended her title in Monterrey, and we look forward to seeing if she can do so again here in Dubai.”

Tickets for the tennis extravaganza are now on sale at Prices start at Dh55 and tickets are available at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium Box Office from today (February 8). Restrictions will apply, with capacity limited to 80 per cent in the stadium.

The tournament begins with the WTA event, which takes place between February 14 and 19 and features 17 of the world’s top 20 players, and then continues between February 21 and 26 with the 30th anniversary of the ATP Tour 500 tournament that includes world No 1 Novak Djokovic and defending champion Aslan Karatsev.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.