Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic are undoubtedly two of the crowd favourites in Dubai, and will go into this month’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships determined to come out on top in what will be one of the most tightly contested events in the tournament’s history.
The pair will have to battle through a field that includes eight of the world’s top 10, including reigning world number one, US Open champion and recent Australian Open winner Serena Williams. But their confidence will be boosted by a fantastic 2014 season that saw them climb the rankings and then follow up with an impressive start to 2015.
Wozniacki, who will be seeking to regain the title she won in 2011, has enjoyed a tremendous run of recent successes, especially in the second half of 2014. She reached the semi-finals at Eastbourne, won Istanbul and then advanced to the quarter-finals in Montreal before being stopped by Serena Williams. The semi-finals in Cincinnati followed, where she beat 2012 Dubai champion Agnieszka Radwanska before again running into Serena, and then she went all the way to the US Open final, upsetting Maria Sharapova in the fourth round before coming up yet again against world number one Serena.
While many players tire both mentally and physically towards the end of the season, Caroline kept on winning. She reached the Tokyo final before losing to Ivanovic, and the semis in Wuhan before closing out her season with a semi-final finish at the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore, losing in a third set tiebreak once again to Serena. Finally, she completed the New York Marathon in an impressive 3 hours 26 minutes. This year she carried on where she had left off last season by reaching the final in Auckland before losing to reigning Dubai champion Venus Williams.
Ivanovic began the 2014 season ranked number 16 and by the end she had climbed all the way to number five after winning 58 matches, more than any other player on the WTA Tour last year. She had started by beating Venus to claim the title in Auckland, and then followed up that triumph by earning three more trophies, in Monterrey, Birmingham and Tokyo. She also reached two more finals, in Stuttgart where she fell to Maria Sharapova and Cincinnati where she was beaten by Serena Williams.
Her goal for 2014 was to reach the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore, which she achieved and where she just failed to reach the semi-finals after winning two of her three round-robin matches. This year she began the season in fine form again, reaching the final in Brisbane before falling to Maria Sharapova in three sets.
“Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic are two of the most recognisable stars in the world of sport, and they were excellent ambassadors for Dubai Duty Free both on and off the court,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organizers.
“We expect to see both of them compete very strongly once again for the title here. Caroline will be attempting to repeat her earlier success, and Ana will be keen to add Dubai to her lengthy and impressive list of tournament titles. We wish them both well.”
Wozniacki and Ivanovic will face formidable opposition as they bid for the title, with not only Serena Williams but five further members of the world’s top 10 striving to win, including Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, French Open finalist and world number three Simona Halep and former Dubai champion Agnieszka Radwanska.
“The field that is gathering for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is one of the strongest in the history of the event, with not only eight of the world’s top 10, but number 11 Venus Williams, the reigning Dubai champion and one of the greatest players of this century,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak. “With such a group of truly fantastic competitors it is impossible to predict who will emerge as the winner, with the only guarantee being that fans will be able to enjoy some top class tennis.”
Play in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships begins with the WTA event which takes place between 15th and 21st February, and then continues between 23rd and 28th February with the ATP tournament featuring world number one and reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, defending Dubai winner Roger Federer, Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray and two-time Dubai runner-up and recent Australian Open semi-finalist Tomas Berdych.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Tickets for the event are available from the Box Office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud which opens from 9am to 9pm daily. Tickets are still available for every day of the women’s week, and start at just 75dhs for the first three days of play, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.