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Australian Open Performances Set Up Epic Showdowns At Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

With less than four weeks to go until the first ball is struck, a host of stars who have booked their flights to Dubai have been taking the Australian circuit by storm.

"Many of the players will come here with their confidence high having achieved fine results in Australia, and it will be wonderful to see so many who are at the top of their game."

January 24, 2017 -- DUBAI, UAE: With less than four weeks to go until the first ball is struck, a host of stars who have booked their flights to Dubai have been taking the Australian circuit by storm, guaranteeing top class competition on the courts of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium as they battle for one of the most desired trophies in the sport when play gets underway next month.

Former world number one Angelique Kerber has made a dramatic start to the new season, winning her 11th career title in Sydney and battling her way to the semi-finals of the Australian Open with wins over tough opponents including Maria Sharapova and US Open finalist Madison Keys. It has been an encouraging turnaround after the 2016 Australian and US Open champion failed to add to her trophy cupboard during last season and saw her ranking slump, and she will be determined to continue her winning ways when she arrives in Dubai.

Keys has also enjoyed a great run in Melbourne as she attempted to reach a second successive Grand Slam final following her performance last September in New York where she counted reigning Dubai champion Elina Svitolina among her casualties. Her results at the Australian Open have included victory over eighth seed Caroline Garcia, who is also heading to Dubai after making it to the third round as the Australian Open.

Svitolina has also proved that she will not easily surrender her Dubai title after already holding aloft another trophy earlier this month when she fought off the challenges of world number nine Johanna Konta and then number four Karolina Pliskova to win the Brisbane International, before advancing to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Former world number one Pliskova is also in good form, making it through to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before falling to world number one Simona Halep.

Grigor Dimitrov will begin as favourite to claim the men's title when he makes his first appearance in Dubai since 2011. He walked away with one of the biggest titles the game has to offer when he lifted the trophy at the ATP World Tour finals in London at the end of last season. And he has continued his winning ways in 2018, reaching the semi-finals in Brisbane and then advancing to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Among others to look out for is Damir Dzumhur, who made a stunning debut at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last year by defeating defending champion Stan Wawrinka. He went on to win titles in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and after being ranked as low as 96 at one stage of 2017 he ended the year ranked 30. He will have left the Australian Open encouraged by the grit and perseverance he showed in outlasting Paolo Lorenzi in a three hour 45 minute battle before falling in the third round to world number one Rafael Nadal.

"Many of the players will come here with their confidence high having achieved fine results in Australia, and it will be wonderful to see so many who are at the top of their game," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. "We can look forward to a fantastic two weeks of tennis as we speculate who might emerge as the winners."

"Once again tennis fans will be able to enjoy many great matches, including some of those players who have thrilled so many with their performances in Australia this month," said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. "Competition will be strong and it is impossible to predict who will emerge at the 2018 champions."

Two fantastic weeks of tennis begins with the WTA event which takes place 19th to 24th February and includes Wimbledon winner Garbiñe Muguruza, defending Dubai champion and recent Brisbane winner Elina Svitolina, 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys, 2016 US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova and former world number one and 2018 Sydney champion Angelique Kerber. The tournament continues between 26th February and 3rd March with the 26th staging of the ATP World Tour event which includes world number three and ATP World Tour Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov.

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.

Grandstand ticket prices for the WTA event start at AED55 for opening rounds to AED735 for the ATP finals, with daily Prime A and Prime B tickets and season tickets also available. (All inclusive of VAT).

Tickets are on sale online, and will go on sale from the Box Office from Thursday 25 January. For ticket sales go to http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/en/tickets. For further information about the tournament visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.