Tennis ace Maria Sharapova is returning to Dubai this February

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She was last here over a decade ago when she competed in the 2006 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship final…

Tennis ace Maria Sharapova is set to make a long-awaited return to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this February after accepting a wild card to join a field of top contenders on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour.

It will be the first time since 2006 that Sharapova has competed in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, which runs from February 19 to March 3 this year.

Back in 2006, the five-time Grand Slam winner beat former champion Martina Hingis and defending champion Lindsay Davenport before falling in the final to another former Dubai champion, Justin Henin.

At this year’s competition, Sharapova, who has won 36 career titles to date, will be joined by some pretty tough competition.

The line up for the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships includes three former world number ones: Wimbledon winner Garbine Muguruza; 2018 Sydney champion, two-time Grand Slam winner and Australian Open semi-finalist Angelique Kerber; and 2016 US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova. Also in the line-up is defending Dubai champion and recent Brisbane winner Elina Svitolina, 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys, and Australian number one and 2018 Sydney runner-up Ashleigh Barty.

“Maria Sharapova has enjoyed much success and won many titles, but she will face very strong opponents here who are equally keen to claim the title,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “It will be interesting to see if she can fight off her eager challengers who will be determined to make headlines by beating one of the legends of the game.”

Grandstand ticket prices start at Dhs55 for opening rounds, and are priced up to Dhs735 for the finals.

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