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Karolina Pliskova, of the Czech Republic, will compete in Dubai next week Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova is hoping to add the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships trophy to her growing list of titles.

The current world No. 3, who began 2020 successfully defending her title in Brisbane, had earned a career-high ranking in the middle of July 2017. Last month, the Czech player went on to claim her third triumph in four years in Sydney, and then eventually fell in the third round of the Australian Open against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Pliskova’s fine start to the new season followed a successful campaign in 2019, although when she arrives in Dubai she will be seeking to put aside her painful memory of losing in the quarter-finals after leading Su-Wei Hsieh 5-1 in the final set.

Before Dubai she had won in Brisbane and reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open by beating Serena Williams, and shortly after competing in Dubai, she reached the final in Miami and lifting the winner’s trophy in Rome.

She made history in Birmingham by playing her sister Kristyna in the second round as the pair became the first identical twins in WTA history to play each other in a main draw match. She unexpectedly lost that match against her 112th-ranked sister, but the following week, Pliskova hoisted her third trophy of the season while winning Eastbourne without conceding a set en route to the title - the first player to achieve the feat since Ekaterina Makarova in 2010.

She added a fourth title for the year towards the end of the season by winning in Zhengzhou before closing out the year by reaching the semi-finals of the WTA Finals in Shenzhen. “Karolina Pliskova has been ranked as the very best player in the world and since May of last year she has not been ranked outside of the top three, a tremendous achievement,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.

“She has a fine record at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, reaching the final in 2015, and she clearly has an excellent chance of being even more successful this year,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bianca Andreescu, who was unable to play any Australian events last month due to a knee injury, lost her fight to be fit in time for Dubai. “I’m very sad to announce that I won’t be able to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next week,” she said.

“I’m not at 100 per cent yet and following my team and doctor’s recommendation, I don’t want to take any risk on my knee. Each day I get closer to being back to the court competing, but Dubai is just too soon,” she added.

The Dubai event will commence with the 20th anniversary of the WTA tournament from February 17-22 featuring fine stars like Simona Halep, 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin and world number five and defending Dubai champion Belinda Bencic.

The tournament will then continue with the ATP competition led by Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, eight-time Dubai champion Roger Federer, 2019 ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas and 2018 Dubai champion Roberto Bautista Agut.

Tickets for both competitions are available at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.