Sofia Kenin and Garbine Muguruza on Collision Course at WTA Abu Dhabi 2021

Published 01/04/2021, 1:20 PM EST
Sofia Kenin of The United States of America following defeat in her Women’s Singles Final against Iga Swiatek of Poland on day fourteen of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on October 10, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

The 2021 WTA season is upon us. And many players are seeing this as a golden opportunity to kick-start their season at the WTA Abu Dhabi Open 2021. As the top players will travel to Australia and quarantine before playing the Australian Open 2021, they will want to prepare well before going there. And thus headlining the Abu Dhabi draw are Sofia Kenin, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova, and Aryna Sabalenka. They are the top four seeds.


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The Abu Dhabi Open is the first-ever WTA 500 tournament. It will begin on the 5th of January at the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre. It is a 64 player draw without byes. It features four of the top 10 players and eleven of the top 25 players.


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Top seed Sofia Kenin to fight hard at Abu Dhabi 2021

The reigning Australian Open champ will want a positive start to the season. She will play a qualifier in the first round. She has a tough draw, as in her way she could face Coco Gauff, Yulia Putintseva and Garbine Muguruza. A quarterfinal against Muguruza and a semifinal against Aryna Sabalenka is on the cards.

2020 particularly was her breakthrough year. She reached two Grand Slam finals, winning one and losing the other at French Open.

Australian Open 2020 Sofia Kenin. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Second seed Elina Svitolina’s path towards the title

Svitolina has a tricky draw on her hands at the WTA Abu Dhabi Open. She could potentially face Elise Mertens in quarterfinals and before that could face Ekaterina Alexandrova at the round of 16 stage. A semifinals clash with Karolina Pliskova could happen. She plays Jessica Pegula in the first round.

Svitolina finished 2020 ranked in the top five. She won two titles to finish the underwhelming year.

Third seed Karolina Pliskova’s road to the title

Pliskova will face Sorana Cirstea in the first round. She is on the easier side of the draw and could face Donna Vekic in the round of 16 and Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinals. A semifinal clash against Svitolina is on the cards.

Pliskova goes into the Abu Dhabi Open with her new coach, Sascha Bajin. Pliskova has reached the summit of the WTA Rankings but never won a Grand Slam. But now there is a newfound belief of winning a Grand Slam in 2021.

Karolina Pliskova celebrates a point. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Aryna Sabalenka looking to continue her streak at Abu Dhabi 2021

Sabalenka has also received a decent draw. The Belarusian will play Polona Hercog in the first round. And she could face Ons Jabeur in the round of 16 and Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals. She is on course to face Sofia Kenin in the semifinals.

The 2020 year was highly successful for Sabalenka. She won the joint-most number of titles in 2020.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus waits to return a serve. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Amanda Anisimova (Seed 14) withdrew from the Singles Main Draw due to illness after the draw had been made.


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Ekaterina Alexandrova, the next player to be seeded, takes the withdrawing seeded player’s position in the draw.

Ulrikke Eikeri, the next player eligible to move into the draw (Alternate), takes the remaining open position in the draw.


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Bhavishya Mittal

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Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.