Tennis stars Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will be among several of the world’s top athletes due to play at the Qatar Total Women’s Open in Doha next month.
Tickets for the event, which will be held at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Dafna/West Bay from Feb. 19-27, went on sale this week.
Eight of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)-ranked top 10 women’s singles players are scheduled to take to Doha’s courts during the nine-day event, which has prize money of more than $2.5 million.
American world No. 1 Williams and Russian Sharapova (World No. 5) will be joined by No. 3 and 2014 Qatar champion Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska No. 4, Angelique Kerber (No. 6) and Petra Kvitova (No. 7).
Lucie Safarova (No. 9) is also set to return to Doha to defend the title she won for the first time here last year after defeating Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-3.
Tennis fans are hoping that Williams remains fit over the next month so there’s no repeat of the last two years, when she had to withdraw from the Doha tournaments at the last minute.
In 2015, she did not play after she was forced to withdraw from the Dubai Tennis Championships due to an upper respiratory illness.
And the previous year, Williams pulled out of the Qatar tournament just days before it was due to start, citing a back injury sustained during the Australian Open.
That same year, Victoria Azarenka also canceled plans to compete due to a foot injury.
A total of 64 players will vie for the title in this year’s event, with 43 of them qualifying for automatic entry, Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) said.
Tournament director Saad Al Mohannadi said in a statement: “It’s so honorable to have very high caliber tennis stars coming to the Qatar Total Open. It is an extraordinary field and I think it will ensure high intensive matches.
It will be exciting to see if Serena can make another memorable moment here in Doha and to watch Safarova if she can defend her title for a second time among such a talented group of athletes including Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova.”
Tickets for the event start at QR20 for ground passes, while finals tickets cost from QR100 to QR350. They can be bought in person (cash-only) at stalls in Landmark Mall, Lagoona Mall, City Center and the Khalifa complex, or online here.
Children under the age of five years old are allowed into the fan zone area, but not in the stands.
Who’s going? Thoughts?