Cash Attracts 7 of Top 10 at WTA Dubai

Posted on February 24, 2008

Why pay big prize money on the WTA Tour when you can stay at the "Tier II" level and hand out huge appearance fees?

That's the theory at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, which sports a better field than many Tier I events, with seven of the Top 10-ranked players on the WTA Tour Rankings at the time of entry.

The Top 6 players in the world headline the field in Justine Henin, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Serbs Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, and Russians Maria Sharapova and Anna Chakvetadze.

Rounding out the seeds are Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli and French Open runner-up Elena Dementieva.

How tough is the field in Dubai?

Early-round match-ups include Henin vs. Nadia Petrova in the second round if the Russian can navigate past a qualifier; Kuznetsova opening against either of two of the hottest up-and-comers in Na Li and Lucie Safarova; Ivanovic vs. Nicole Vaidisova in a potential second-rounder; Dementieva in an opener against Patty Schnyder; Chakvetadze in a potential all-Russian second-rounder against Dinara Safina; Jankovic vs. Indian star Sania Mirza in the second round; and a second-round battle of former No. 1s in Sharapova vs. Amelie Mauresmo.

Potential quarterfinal meetings are Henin vs. Bartoli, Ivanovic vs. Dementieva, Jankovic vs. Chakvetadze, and Sharapova or Mauresmo vs. Kuznetsova.

Wildcards for the event went to Mirza and Tunisia's Selima Sfar.

Henin is the defending champ, defeating Mauresmo 6-4, 7-5 in last year's championship match.