2024 Dubai Championships WTA draw feature Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek

The draw has already thrown up a plethora of exciting matches

By Web Desk
February 17, 2024
The tournament is starting from tomorrow - AFP

The 2024 Dubai Championships women's tournament will be at full strength, and the draw for the second WTA 1000 event of the season has been revealed.

The tournament will mark the return to competition for World No. 2 and reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, who skipped the Qatar Open. The draw has already thrown up a plethora of exciting matches.

The top eight seeds at this tournament will receive a bye, and although some high-profile names like depending champion Barbora Krejcikova and fourth-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka have pulled out, there is a wealth of star power in the field.

In the top half of the draw is last year's finalist, Iga Swiatek, who, surprisingly, has not won this tournament. She will begin her campaign against either Sloane Stephens or qualifier. Swiatek could meet 15th seed Elina Svitolina in the third round.

However, it remains to be seen whether the Ukrainian has recovered from the back injury that ended her Australian Open and faces a tough opening match against compatriot Anhelina Kalinina.

Fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur plans to play in this tournament despite question marks regarding her knee. The Tunisian has endured a nightmare return to the Middle East, and she'll be hoping to wind up with a good run in Dubai. She has a great draw, for starters.

Jabeur has a bye in the first round and is guaranteed to face a qualifier in the second round. But things could get significantly harder in the third round with big-hitting Jelena Ostapenko, a possible opponent.

Coco Gauff, meanwhile, will face one of Elise Mertens or Lesia Tsurenko. She is also another top-ranked player in desperate need of match wins after a modest start to the Middle East swing in Doha.

In the bottom half, second seed Aryna Sabalenka will look to win her eighth match in a row when she opens up against either Donna Vekic or Xiyu Wang. Meanwhile, Maria Sakkari, who is without a coach after parting ways with Tom Hill, faces a potential banana peel in the second round.

The Greek awaits the winner of the match between Katerina Siniakova and in-form American Emma Navarro. Fourth seed Elena Rybakina faces a tricky path to the title despite her incredible run of form in the Gulf region.

The Kazakh could open up against two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka, provided the Belarusian can evade Arantxa Rus in the first round. Russian teen prodigy Mirra Andreeva returns to action and will play American Peyton Stearns in the first round.

Notable first-round matches:

Emma Navarro vs. Katerina Siniakova

[11] Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Jasmine Paolini

Mirra Andreeva vs. Peyton Stearns

Sofia Kenin vs. Sorana Cirstea

Donna Vekic vs. Wang Xiyu