One of the hottest players on the WTA Tour will begin as a firm favourite to claim the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 2018 crown when play gets underway just three weeks from now.
January 30, 2017 – DUBAI, UAE: One of the hottest players on the WTA Tour will begin as a firm favourite to claim the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown when play gets underway just three weeks from now.
Former world number one Angelique Kerber has made a stunning start to 2018 by lifting the winner's trophy in Sydney and then advancing to the semi-finals of the Australian Open, where she took part in one of the best matches of the tournament and held two match points before losing a thrilling battle with Simona Halep 9-7 in the third set.
The German was also the player to beat in 2016, when she won the Australian and US Opens and Stuttgart, and was just a win away from winning Wimbledon, the Olympics and the WTA Finals in Singapore, as well as Brisbane and Cincinnati.
"I know that I'm back, and I know that I can play again good tennis in front of amazing crowds..." - Angelique Kerber
She lost her way in 2017 and saw her ranking slump, but towards the end of the season she showed the first signs of her renaissance with a win over world number four Karolina Pliskova and a semi-final in Tokyo, and she made a promising start to 2018 by beating Venus Williams on her way to claiming her 11th career title in Sydney.
As her disappointing season came to a close Kerber was able to put the past behind her and focus on the future. With help from new coach Wim Fissette, who had previously worked with world number ones Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters, Simona Halep, and British number one Johanna Konta, her flair and incredible fighting spirit has lifted her once again into the winners circle and back into the top 10.
"Yeah, I was really happy that the year was over, that's true," said Kerber. "I mean, after Zhuhai [in November] I was going back home, and I was just trying to take a lot of weeks off and just trying to forget the year, 2017. I mean, I was trying to focus again on my pre-season, working hard, and just looking ahead on 2018.
"I think I learned a lot. I know that I'm back, and I know that I can play again good tennis in front of amazing crowds and playing tough matches, winning also matches where I'm down and fighting until the last point. For me, the most important thing is that I'm again on court, and I'm fighting. I have my heart there. I really enjoy every single moment."
And although she lost her desperately close fight with Halep in Melbourne she was able to walk away with her head high and with her confidence restored.
"I gave everything. This is what I will tell myself in the next few days," she said after the Australian Open semi-final. "And looking back what I achieved in the last three weeks, yeah, it was not so bad, I mean, when I looking back, like, four, five weeks ago, and somebody told me that I will win so many matches in a row, winning a title, being in the semis here, yeah, and still having the opportunity to win this match, as well. I will just take the positive things from the last three, four weeks and I'm looking forward."
With Kerber back to her best, Dubai tennis fans can look forward to seeing her challenge strongly for one of the most sought-after trophies on the WTA Tour.
"It is wonderful to see Angelique Kerber playing so well, and she will clearly present a major challenge for anyone she faces in the weeks and months ahead, not only here in Dubai but throughout the season," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. "She impressed us here last year when she reached the semi-finals before losing to our eventual champion Elina Svitolina, and it will be fascinating to see if she can improve on that excellent performance."
"The determination and tenacity that Angelique Kerber has shown in recent weeks has been quite astonishing and thrilling to watch, and we look forward to seeing her perform in the same manner at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships," said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. "She will be full of confidence as she competes against so many top-class opponents."
Kerber will be just one of the stars taking part in what promises to be two fantastic weeks of tennis, which begins with the WTA event that 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 2018 Sydney runner-up Ashleigh Barty. The tournament continues between 26th February and 3rd March with the 26th staging of the ATP World Tour event which features 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 from the Box Office, which is open 9am -9pm daily. For ticket sales go to http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/en/tickets For further information about the tournament visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.