Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina celebrates a point against Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Hamish Blair)
- The WTA Dubai Tennis Championships Round of 32 gets underway tomorrow, March 9th
- The top eight seeds received a first round bye, so they will be taking the court for the first time on Tuesday
- See below for the Top 20 best odds to win the tournament outright ahead of the Round of 32, and a preview of what we can expect from the rest of the tournament
The 2021 WTA Dubai Tennis Championship Round of 32 begins tomorrow, and this year we have three former champions headlining the event, including two-time champion, Elina Svitolina.
2013 champion Petra Kvitova, who’s coming off a Qatar Open tournament win, and 2019 champion Belinda Bencic will be competing. All three former champions are seeded in the top 8, awarding them a first round bye.
There will continue to not be any fans in attendance at the tournament this year, abiding by COVID-19 guidelines. But there’s no shortage of talent competing. Let’s take a look at who we should keep an eye on the rest of the week, and has the best chance to win.
2021 WTA Dubai Tennis Championship Odds
| Petra Kvitova||+700|
| Aryna Sabalenka||+700|
| Iga Swiatek||+800|
| Karolina Pliskova||+1400|
| Elina Svitolina||+1600|
| Belinda Bencic||+4000|
| Kiki Bertens||+4000|
Odds taken March 8th from DraftKings
No. 1 Seed
After an early exit at the Qatar Open just this past week, Svitolina will look to get back on track and possibly even win her third trophy at this tournament.
But this won’t be an easy task.
She’s drawn a tough half, which includes the two other former champions.
After her first round bye, the Ukrainian will open up her tournament against former World No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova. If she were to win her first match, it just gets tougher. In the later rounds, she could face sixth seed Belinda Bencic.
Reigning champion and currently No. 3 in the world, Simona Halep announced that she will not be competing in this year’s tournament.
The two-time champion is currently dealing with lower back issues.
Unfortunately I am not feeling 100 per cent in my lower back and I have made the tough decision to withdraw from @DDFTennis
I have great memories from winning my 20th WTA title in Dubai last year so I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to defend my title.. pic.twitter.com/ULvxfyKq5w
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) March 4, 2021
Another player worth noting who withdrew is seventh seed Victoria Azarenka, who has been dealing with back issues as well. Azarenka actually withdrew from her semifinal match against Muguruza at the Qatar Open just this past week. It’s not a huge surprise she’s not competing here.
Dark Horses to Watch
The bottom half of the draw is where things could get interesting.
With the three former champs in the top half, you would think there would be room for just about anyone to shine through here. But the bottom half will be just as competitive.
19-year old Iga Swiatek has a fairly straightforward path to the Round of 16. She already has a title under her belt in 2021, where she upset higher ranked and seeded player, Belinda Bencic at the Adelaide International just a couple of weeks ago.
Garbine Muguruza is also one to keep an eye on. She has some tough opponents early on, not as straightforward of a path as Swiatek has. But if Muguruza is able to get through, there’ll most likely be an exciting match between the Spaniard and young Polish star in the later rounds.
Kvitova, Muguruza and Sabalenka all lead the way as the favorite with tied +700 odds to win the tournament outright.
Second and third seeds, Karolina Pliskova and Sabalenka are in the same half, setting up a possible semifinal match. Both are in great form, but are coming off some tough losses.
Pliskova is coming off a loss to Jessica Pegula in the quarters of the Qatar Open, and Sabalenka is coming off a loss to Muguruza in the Round of 16 at the same tournament.
Out of the three players tied for best odds to win at +700, Kvitova is the only one that is in the top half of the draw, as well as the only one that is a former champion at this tournament.
I do think that Kvitova might be best bet right now. She’s coming off a title win, where she beat Muguruza, and she’s won here before. But with the amount of talent competing in this tournament, and how the draw has played out, there’s a huge possibility for early round upsets.
The Pick: Kvitova (+700)
A graduate of Sport Media at Ryerson University, Hayley is the ultimate student of sports. Whether she is playing it, watching it, debating it, or writing it, it’s safe to assume sport consumes the majority of her life. She has worked both internationally and with the NBA.