2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has been drawn to face 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the Dubai first round. Rybakina, who broke into the top-10 for the first time in her career following a runner-up finish at the Australian Open, is the ninth-seeded player in Dubai.
On the other side, Andreescu is now ranked at No 36 in the world and unseeded in Dubai. As a result, tennis fans will have a chance to see two Grand Slam champions battle in the very early stage of Dubai.
Full @DDFTennis draw pic.twitter.com/rJlohmk6EH — Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) February 18, 2023
After the Australian Open, Rybakina returned to action in Abu Dhabi, where she suffered a surprise quarterfinal defeat to Beatriz Haddad Maia.
Meanwhile, Andreescu reached the Hua Hin semifinal in early February before losing to Yulia Putintseva in the Abu Dhabi first round.
Rybakina enjoyed Dubai success in the past
Rybakina, 23, is set to make her third appearance on the hard courts of Dubai.
In 2020, Rybakina made her Dubai debut. Back then, Rybakina fell just short of winning Dubai in her tournament debut as she reached the final before Simona Halep edged her out in three tight sets 3-6 6-3 7-6 (5). In 2021, Rybakina returned to Dubai but this time didn’t enjoy a deep run as she was beaten by Ons Jabeur in the second round.
When Rybakina takes on the court in Dubai, she will be officially kicking off her fifth tournament of the year. Rybakina didn’t really play well in her first two tournaments of the year as she suffered a round-of-16 loss in Adelaide 1, before losing in the first round of Adelaide 2.
But after two early losses in Adelaide, Rybakina put up a strong run at the Australian Open as she made the final before losing to Aryna Sabalenka in three sets. After the Australian Open, Rybakina made the Abu Dhabi quarterfinal.
Now, Rybakina will try to make a strong run at a star-studded Dubai event and lift her first title of the year.