22 January, 2017

Konta On A Roll, Emerges As A Favourite To Lift Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Title

Johanna Konta has emerged as a favourite to lift the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title after a stunning start to the season that saw her win her second career crown in Sydney, reach the semi-finals in Shenzhen and brush aside former world number one Caroline Wozniacki to set up a fourth round encounter with Ekaterina Makarova at the Australian Open.


The most successful player to emerge from Britain in a generation, late last year she became the first player from her country since Jo Durie in 1984 to reach the top 10, and then she didn't drop a set all week in Sydney to become the first British champion there since Durie in 1983. Going into the Australian Open, where she first came to prominence by reaching the 2016 semi-finals, she had won 22 of her last 27 matches while reaching the semi-finals or better in four of her past five tournaments.

Now ranked ninth, Konta will be joined in Dubai by seven other members of the top ten, all of whom will mount a strong challenge for the title. However the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has often produced a final that surprises all, and 2017 could be no exception as several Dubai-bound players who usually live their life outside of the spotlight have also made winning starts to the year.

Dubai contenders who hit the ground running at the start of the new season include 2015 Dubai finalist Karolina Pliskova who won the Brisbane International, defeating 2014 Dubai finalist Alize Cornet; Alison Riske who reached the Shenzhen finals; Lauren Davis won the ASB Classic in Auckland over Ana Konjuh; Monica Nicolescu who reached the Hobart finals, and 2016 Dubai finalist Barbora Strycova who also advanced to the Sydney semi-finals. Konta, Pliskova and Strycova have all made it to the fourth round in Australia, along with other Dubai contenders ranked outside the top ten, Anastasia Pavyluchenkova and Ekatarina Makarova. 

"We are thrilled to welcome Johanna Konta to Dubai for the first time," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organisers. "She has made remarkable progress over the past year and is now a serious title contender at every tournament she plays, even the Grand Slams. Although she will be competing in a fantastic field that includes eight of the world's top 10 players it would be no surprise at all if she can emerge from her debut year as the champion as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the tournament. We wish her well." 

"The 2017 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships looks as if it will be the most unpredictable in the tournament's history," said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. "There are so many players who are performing well both from inside and outside of the top 10 that the outcome is impossible to foretell. The only certainty is that there will be many thrilling matches throughout the week." 

The WTA Premier 5 event commences on 19 February, and also features Australian and US Open champion and world number one Angelique Kerber, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, WTA Finals winner Dominika Cibulkova, two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and former Dubai champions Agnieszka Radwanska, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki.

The ATP 500 event follows on 27 February, and the line-up includes world number one Andy Murray; seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer; Dubai defending champion, winner of three grand slams and world number four Stan Wawrinka; two time Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych, along with the entertaining world number seven Gael Monfils. 

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 

Tickets for every day of the event including the finals are still available from the Box Office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud which opens from 9am to 9pm daily. Tickets are also available online through further information about tickets, prices and the tournament visit

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