Davenport to take on Jankovic
By Our Sports Reporter
19 February 2006
DUBAI — Lindsay Davenport of the USA will open the defence of her title when she takes on Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Montenegro in the second round of the $1milion DDF Women’s Open which starts here from tomorrow.
The meeting of the second seed Davenport and the unseeded Serbian, will be a repeat of last year’s final where the American won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Top seed Amelie Mauresmo of France, on the other hand, will have a relatively easy second round match as she meets a qualifier to be determined later.
The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena will, however, not make their appearance this time as both are injured. But tennis fans will have the privilege once again to see Indian teenager Sania Mirza for the second year running. Mirza faces faces a tough task in the first round as meets former world No.1 Martina Hingis in the first round.
Colm McLoughlin, managing director of Dubai Duty Free, speaking during the draw at the Majlis at the Dubai Tennis Stadium yesterday said, tennis fans would have a fantastic time of tennis through the lineup of some of the best women players.
Expressing his delight of the field, McLouglin said: I am delighted with the inclusion of Mauresmo. Having Amelie join us again is wonderful news for the tournament and will add even more excitement to what is sure to be a memorable week of women’s tennis,” he said.
“Her inclusion also further confirms how popular this event has become with the world’s leading players and we are absolutely delighted with the line-up we have for this year’s tournament.”
The injection of Mauresmo will see all the previous title-holders of the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open and four of the top five players in the world competing at the Dubai Tennis Stadium next week.
Former Roland Garros champion Anastasia Myskina and the ever-popular Daniela Hantuchova will also add beauty and class to the greatest field of players ever gathered for the Dubai Tennis Championships.
The 2005 season was difficult for Myskina, who was distracted by her mother being sick, and consequently fell in the first round at Roland Garros where she was defending her 2004 French Open crown.
Fortunately for her many fans here in Dubai, Myskina’s game has once more returned to its previous high level, and she will prove to be a formidable opponent against anyone she meets.
“I started believing in myself again,” Myskina said. Definitely I know what I can do right now even if maybe I’ve not been playing my best tennis. At least I fight and I do my best on the court no matter what.”
“I think that’s the game right now, it’s all about the mental game. Because right now all the girls are playing almost the same level, and if you’re mentally stronger then you win the match.”
Hantuchova is also back on the right track after a difficult period, and she is at her highest ranking for two and a half years. The 22-year-old will be looking to make her mark in Dubai and go further than her quarter finals appearance last year.
Organisers also announced today that Venus and Serena Williams, as well as Patty Schnyder, have withdrawn from the tournament.
Venus, who has withdrawn due to an arm injury, said: “Over the years I have always enjoyed visiting Dubai and competing in the Dubai Duty Free Championships. The tournament is a fantastic event and Dubai has become one of my favorite cities in the world. I regret that I will not be there in 2006 but I do plan to return next year. My rehabilitation is coming along and I am hoping to be playing competitively again in the coming weeks.”
The Dubai Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and takes place under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.