Tough comeback match for Kim Clijsters as Garbine Muguruza also gets mouth-watering opener

Kim Clijsters practice

The first-round of the 2020 Dubai Tennis Championships will mark Kim Clijsters’ second comeback to the WTA Tour and she has been given a tough opener with Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza also handed a difficult assignment.

Four-time Grand Slam winner Clijsters announced at the backend of 2019 that she would return to the Tour this year and, after initially being forced to delay her comeback due to injury, she finally accepted a wildcard entry to Dubai.

And the former world No 1 will be up against it in the first round as she will face fifth seed Kiki Bertens, who will play in the final of the St Petersburg Ladies Open on Sunday.

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Wildcard Muguruza, who will be playing for the first time since losing in the final at Melbourne Park against Sofia Kenin, will take on third seed Elina Svitolina in another bumper opener.

They are all in the top half of the draw alongside top seed Simona Halep, who has a bye in the first round.

Maria Sakkari versus Aryna Sabalenka is another eye-catching clash and the winner of that match could face reigning Wimbledon champion Halep in the quarter-final.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova leads the bottom half and she will face a qualifier once she gets underway in the second round while newly-crowned Australian Open winner Kenin, who faces Elena Rybakina first up, could be a last-eight opponent.

Defending champion and fourth seed Belinda Bencic will face Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her opener.

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