Dubai: The majority of players have arrived for the 24th annual Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge which is due to start tomorrow at the Habtoor Grand Resort.
China’s top three players Zhang Shuai, Zheng Saisai and Xinyu Wang were among the first to show up for a practice session on the tennis courts at Habtoor Grand Resort today.
In what is a first at the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge, Zhang Shuai will be the seed, followed by fellow Chinese Zheng Saisai and Xinyu Wang when the tournament kicks off with the qualifying rounds starting at 10am tomorrow (November 21).
The three best players
Held for a record 24th year this year, the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge is also the first time that the top three players have come from the same country.
Former multiple Grand Slam doubles champion Kristina Mladenovic, who had abruptly ended her 2021 season since early October to take a well-deserved rest, was among the late withdrawals from the competition here on Friday night. She will be replaced by Egyptian Sandra Samir, who received a wild card this week.
2018 Al Habtoor champion and fifth seed from Romania Ana Bogdan has also landed for a quick training session, which will aim to be the only player to win the Dubai crown twice.
The Slovakian Kristina Kucova, fifth seed, the Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova (6th) and the Slovenian Polona Hercog (9th) are also among the first players of this event.
Organized under the patronage of Khalaf Al Habtoor, President of the Habtoor Group since 1998, the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge is ranked as a $ 100,000 + H ITF Women’s Tour tournament on the ITF Women’s Tour.
The tournament started out as a $ 25,000 ITF competition and was subsequently classified as a $ 75,000 event from 1999 to 2015. Since 2016 it has grown into a $ 100,000 + H ITF event with some of the biggest names. of professional women’s tennis making an appearance.
Last year, Sorana Cirstea only became the second consecutive Romanian player to win the singles title when she beat Czech Katerina Siniakova in three sets (4-6, 6-3, 6-3 ).
Mai Dubai, Hilton, V Hotel, Habtoor Palace, Emirates International School, Habtoor Grand Resort and Diamond Lease are among the tournament sponsors.
Played at the Habtoor Grand Resort, the region’s oldest women’s professional tennis tournament will see a 32-player singles draw and a 16-player doubles draw vying for the Ultimate Champions trophies in the final on the 27th. November (Saturday).
The qualifying rounds for the eight free places in the main draw will start at the Habtoor Grand Resort tennis courts from 10am tomorrow.