DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Former World No.1 Simona Halep will be returning to the Dubai Duty Free Championships later this month - a tournament she won in 2015.
The WTA Player of the Month for January, Halep was runner-up at the Australian Open after an epic, almost three-hour-long final against Caroline Wozniacki.
That run in Melbourne came after winning the title in Shenzhen, the 16th singles title of her career.
"Simona Halep fully deserved her Player of the Month award after a fantastic period in which she enjoyed great success and showed to one and all that she is able to overcome even the toughest challenges," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.
"She will arrive in Dubai full of confidence, knowing that it will take an extraordinary effort to deny her a second title here. We eagerly look forward to seeing how she fares against one of the strongest groups of players ever assembled in Dubai."
"We are delighted to welcome Simona Halep back to Dubai," said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.
"There are few players who can match her tenacity and skill, but she is sure to be stretched to the limit by a player field that features not only seven of the top 10, but a total of five players who have been ranked World No.1 and four who have won Grand Slam titles. It will be very exciting to see how she deals with the challenge."
Halep heads a field that includes reigning Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza, five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova, two-time Wimbledon champion and 2018 St.Petersburg winner Petra Kvitova, defending Dubai champion and recent Brisbane winner Elina Svitolina, 2018 Sydney champion and Australian Open semifinalist Angelique Kerber, 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys, 2016 US Open finalist and former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova, 2018 St. Petersburg runner-up Kristina Mladenovic and Australian No.1 and 2018 Sydney finalist Ashleigh Barty.