Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open: preview to season opener
The WTA 2021 season kicks off in Abu Dhabi this week with a blockbuster line-up.
The WTA 500 tournament runs from January 5-13 at the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre and boasts four of the world’s top ten players.
Here is a look at the stars who will be featuring in the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open in preparation for the Australian Open at the end of the month.
First up is American Sofia Kenin, who won her first major title when she beat Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open final last year.
The 22 year-old also won the Lyon Open and reached the fourth-round at the US Open.
She will certainly be looking to come away from the Abu Dhabi event in top form so she can defend her major title.
World No 5 Elina Svitolina will also be featuring at the first event of the season.
The 26 year-old from Ukraine competed in several of the events which went ahead last year such as the Italian Open, the French Open and the Ostrava Open.
She won in September at the Internationaux de Strasbourg when she defeated Elena Rybakina.
Former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova will be returning to the hard court after a consistent 2020 season.
The 28 year-old Czech star was close to winning a WTA title before she had to pull out of the final against Simona Halep at the Italian Open.
She will be heading into the new season with her new coach Sascha Bajin.
Aryna Sabalenka finished the 2020 season by winning two consecutive WTA titles.
The 22 year-old from Belarus ended on a nine-match winning streak.
She ties Halep for most titles won during the year after winning the J&T Banka Ostrava Open, the Upper Austria Ladies Linz and the Qatar Total Open.
Tennis fans can get excited for the return of Coco Gauff who rose to fame after beating Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019.
The 16 year-old reached the Round of 16 at the Ostrava Open and the semi-final at the Top Seed Open last year.
Elsewhere, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, Jelena Ostapenko and Svetlana Kuznetsova will also be playing.
Despite a stellar line-up for the event, top stars Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka have not yet confirmed if they will be making an appearance.