The 2022 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is set to welcome a stacked line-up next month after organisers announced nine of the world's top 10 players have confirmed for the WTA Tour event.
In terms of current rankings, world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus leads the field and will be joined by defending champion and third-ranked Spaniard Garbine Muguruza at the February 14-19 tournament.
French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova, Spain's Paula Badosa, Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, Greece's Maria Sakkari, Iga Swiatek of Poland, and Tunisian star Ons Jabeur — all ranked between fourth and 10th — ensure only Ashleigh Barty will be absent from the top 10.
The packed line-up extends beyond the top 10, though, with Russian world No 11 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 12th-ranked Kazakh Elena Rybakina, American world No 13 Sofia Kenin, and two-time Dubai champion Simona Halep of Romania — ranked No 14 — also in the main draw.
American teenager Cori Gauff, double Dubai winner Elina Svitolina from Ukraine, former champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, Germany's three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber, and Jessica Pegula of the United States will also have ambitions of winning the title. As will 2019 champion Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, Russian world No 23 Daria Kasatkina, and Belarusian two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka.
In total, 17 of the world's top 20 players will compete in Dubai as part of a field that comprises five former champions. Two of those past winners, Halep and Svitolina, will have the opportunity to join Belgian great Justine Henin as the tournament's most successful ever female champions with three titles.
The WTA Tour event will take place the week before the ATP Tour tournament, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary. Muguruza won last year's tournament after beating Krejcikova in the final.
“The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has once again attracted an incredible field of women players which is second to none,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak.
“Despite so many of the game’s very top names competing, success is never guaranteed and over the years many hopeful contenders have sprung a surprise and produced some stunning and unexpected upsets. With this year’s entries stronger than ever, we look forward to not only to finding who will emerge as our winner from such a star-studded WTA field, but also seeing who will become our 30th year ATP champion.”