Elena Rybakina returns as Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open confirms complete line-up

World No 3 will be back in the UAE next month for WTA 500 tournament at Zayed Sports City

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Elena Rybakina will be the highest-ranked player at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open next month after organisers on Tuesday released the complete line-up for the WTA 500 tournament.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP

Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)
Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)
Maria Sakkari (Greece)
Barbora Krejčíková (Czech Republic)
Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)
Jeļena Ostapenko (Latvia)
Liudmila Samsonova
Daria Kasatkina
Veronika Kudermetova
Caroline Garcia (France)
Magda Linette (Poland)
Sorana Cîrstea (Romania)
Anastasia Potapova
Anhelina Kalinina (Ukraine)
Jasmine Paolini (Italy)
Emma Navarro (USA)
Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine)
Emma Raducanu (Great Britain) – wildcard

Rybakina, the world No 3, returns to Abu Dhabi for the February 3-11 event at Zayed Sports City's International Tennis Centre, having reached the quarter-finals last year. She also made the last eight of the Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open, held in 2021 as a one-off event during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 24-year-old Kazakh will be joined in Abu Dhabi by fellow top-10 players Maria Sakkari of Greece and the Czech Republic’s former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.

Tunisian star and world No 6 Ons Jabeur was announced as the tournament's headline star last October, while Brazil's 11th-ranked Beatriz Haddad Maia was confirmed to play last week.

In all, half of the WTA Tour's top 20 will compete at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, including Latvia's Jeļena Ostapenko, last year's finalist Liudmila Samsonova, Daria Kasatkina, Veronika Kudermetova, and Caroline Garcia of France.

Britain's Emma Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, was this week given a wildcard, while other players confirmed include Poland’s Magda Linette, Sorana Cirstea of Romania, Anastasia Potapova, Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina and Italy’s Jasmine Paolini.

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic won the inaugural tournament but at present is not returning to defend her title.

“We are delighted to announce such a strong draw for this year’s event, and with 10 of the world’s top 20 players competing, it promises to be a truly special tournament," said tournament director Nigel Gupta.

“With fantastic talents such as Ons Jabeur, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Emma Raducanu confirmed, there was already a huge sense of excitement ahead of the event.

“This additional list of players undoubtedly adds to the anticipation, with tennis fans in Abu Dhabi and the UAE having the opportunity to watch some of the best players in the world compete for the title in less than one month’s time.”

Based on rankings and early-season form, Rybakina will be among the favourites for the title in Abu Dhabi. The 2022 Wimbledon champion began 2024 in fine style by winning the Brisbane International, thrashing world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the final to install herself among the leading contenders at next week's Australian Open.

However, Rybakina will face stiff competition from the likes of Jabeur, the world No 6 and three-time Grand Slam finalist, world No 8 Sakkari and 10th-ranked Krejcikova. World No 12 Ostapenko, a six-time winner on the WTA Tour and a French Open champion in 2017, will also be confident of her chances in Abu Dhabi.

“The field for this year’s Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open is packed full of talent and we are looking forward to another fantastic tournament," said WTA chief executive officer Steven Simon.

“Abu Dhabi was the perfect location for last year's inaugural event, which produced some fantastic entertainment both on and off court.

“We are hugely excited about heading back to the UAE and we know tennis fans in the country will create another memorable occasion."

Six players will be added to the draw through qualifying, while there are three additional wildcard slots available after the first of those was awarded to Raducanu.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.mubadalaabudhabiopen.com.

Updated: January 09, 2024, 1:04 PM
CONFIRMED LINE-UP

Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)
Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)
Maria Sakkari (Greece)
Barbora Krejčíková (Czech Republic)
Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)
Jeļena Ostapenko (Latvia)
Liudmila Samsonova
Daria Kasatkina
Veronika Kudermetova
Caroline Garcia (France)
Magda Linette (Poland)
Sorana Cîrstea (Romania)
Anastasia Potapova
Anhelina Kalinina (Ukraine)
Jasmine Paolini (Italy)
Emma Navarro (USA)
Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine)
Emma Raducanu (Great Britain) – wildcard