Petra Kvitova has announced her withdrawal from this year’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, due to a leg injury.
The Czech international said: “I am really disappointed to be withdrawing from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. I spent my off-season in Dubai this year and was really looking forward to being back at a tournament where I have had some great results.
She added: “After playing a lot of tennis in the past few weeks, and winning the title today, my whole body is in much need of a rest. I can’t wait to be back in Dubai next year and wish you all the best this week.”
The main draw of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships kicks off on Monday and there are a number of intriguing ties to sink your teeth into at the Aviation Club.
Below, Reem Abulleil analyses three of the top match-ups between players who have very rarely, if ever, met in a WTA tournament before.
Two players with contrasting styles who have never faced off before. Osaka hits a big ball that can cause some serious damage on the fast courts of Dubai while Mladenovic is more about finesse than power. Mladenovic finally ended her 15-match losing streak by making the final in St. Petersburg and as a resident in the Emirates, should be familiar with the conditions here.
Verdict: Mladenovic in two.
Their only previous meeting came in the Beijing last-16 last year, where Kasatkina triumphed in three close sets. A match that will have lots of variety from two players who possess great skill. Radwanska is a former Dubai champion while Kasatkina has played just one match here, a first round loss to Caroline Wozniacki in 2017.
Verdict: Radwanska in three.
A first meeting between the pair. Konta is making her Dubai debut while Pavlyuchenkova is making her eighth appearance. The Brit showed signs of her fierce form in Doha last week, where she avenged her Australian Open shock defeat to Bernarda Pera before easing past Carla Suarez Navarro. Pavlyuchenkova has won just one match this season.
Verdict: Konta in two.
The Australian open runner-up, who progressed through to the semi-finals of the Qatar Total Open on Friday, announced after her victory against CiCi Bellis that she would not be able to complete the tournament nor compete in the UAE.
The Romanian cited a foot issue as the reason why – an MRI showed fluid and tendinitis – and revealed she will not play again until at least Indian Wells, which begins in early March.
“I am surprised that I could play three matches and to win them. I felt pain every day, so it was not easy to manage it,” Halep, who had initially accepted a wildcard for Dubai, told a press conference in Doha. “I didn’t have much time to recover before this tournament, but today was too much, and I decided to stop.”
— WTA (@WTA) February 16, 2018
Simona Halep is withdrawing from #QatarTotalOpen due to her foot injury. MRI reveals fluid and tendinitis. Won’t play again until Indian Wells.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) February 16, 2018