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Swiatek’s path to glory, magnificent first-rounders – everything you need to know about next week’s WTA Dubai 1000 draw

The WTA season kicks into high gear with its first 1000-level event next week in Dubai. Find out what you need to know…

Jelena Ostapenko Jelena Ostapenko, in Dubai with her trophy (Panoramic)

The WTA tour shifts to Dubai next week for the first WTA 1000 event of 2023, with Doha champion Iga Swiatek looking to continue her momentum at an event in which she has never been past the round of 16.

See the full Dubai draw here

Here’s what you need to know about the 23rd staging of this prestigious event.

Top-seeded Swiatek could face Leylah Fernandez in the opening round

Fresh off her first title of 2023, where she dropped just five games in three matches, world No 1 will look to continue her winning ways in Dubai, where she has never won a title before (2-2). Here is her projected path to the final if seeds hold:

  • R1 Bye
  • R2 Julie Grabher or Leylah Fernandez
  • R3 [14] Liudmila Samsonova
  • QF [6] Maria Sakkari or [10] Veronika Kudermetova
  • SF [5] Coco Gauff or [4] Caroline Garcia
  • F [2] Aryna Sabalenka

Jelena Ostapenko is the defending champion

The Latvian was actually the last player to defeat Swiatek before she commenced her tour-shaking 37-match winning streak in 2022. Ostapenko defeated the Pole in the round of 16, then went on to defeat Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep or Veronika Kudermetova to win the title.

Nine top-10 players are playing

It’s a stacked field in Dubai. The only player missing from the top 10 is Ons Jabeur, who is still out after having a minor surgery.

Aryna Sabalenka will make her return

Sabalenka will play her first competitive tennis since winning the Australian Open in January. The world No 2 is slated to face either Jil Teichmann or Anastasia Potapova in the second round (after a bye) and could face defending champ Ostapenko in the third round.

The wild cards are…

Sofia Kenin, Vera Zvonareva, Marta Kostyuk, Linda Fruhvirtova and Ipek Oz were awarded main draw wild cards.

The youngest player in the draw is…

17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova, the rising Czech who reached the round of 16 on her Australian debut in January. 37-year-old Kaia Kanepi is the oldest.

Notable first-round matchups:

  • Bianca Andreescu vs Elena Rybakina
  • Zhang Shuai vs Zheng Qinwen
  • Paula Badosa vs Liudmila Samsonova
  • Linda Fruhvirtova vs Danielle Collins.

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