2-time reigning Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka returns to the courts in Dubai three weeks after her stunning victory in Melbourne.
Osaka will debut without coach Sascha Bajin who she parted from last week.
Joining the World No. 1 in the field will be nine of the Top 10 overall, including 2-time defending champion Elina Svitolina, 2013 winner Petra Kvitova, 2015 champ Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki who won the event in 2011.
Garbine Muguruza, Aryna Sabalenka and recent Doha winner Elise Mertens are also in the draw.
Already, 2018 finalist Daria Kasatkina won her opener today while Muguruza needed three sets to outlast Dayana Yastremska. No. 4 seed Karolina Pliskova fell to her 20-year-old countrywoman Liudmila Samsonova.
The projected quarterfinals: Osaka v Svitolina, Halep v Sabalenka, Kerber v Goerges, Bertens v Kvitova.
$520,615 go to the winner along with 900 ranking points.
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