A competitive field will travel to Dubai for 2021 Australian Open women’s qualifying from January 10-13.
The decision to host the qualifying event offshore is due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will see 128 women compete for 16 spots in the main draw for the Australian Open in Melbourne from February 8-21.
"From the beginning of all our planning for the Australian Open, our objective has been to provide the players with as many competition opportunities, and the ability to earn prize money, as we possibly could," said Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley.
Timea Babos, two-time Australian Open and Roland Garros doubles champion and one half of the 2020 WTA Doubles Team of the Year, is among the entrants in the singles qualifying field. Former WTA World No.5 and 2014 Australian Open semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard and experienced Swiss player Stefanie Vogele, who is vying to make her eighth Australian Open main draw appearance, will also compete.
Other notable contenders include Australian Open 2012 quarterfinalist Sara Errani, former WTA World No.20 Mihaela Buzarnescu, 2020 US Open quarterfinalist Tsvetana Pironkova and former WTA World No.35 CiCi Bellis.
Nine Australian women will compete in Dubai with Kimberly Birrell and Ellen Perez joining qualifying wildcards Seone Mendez, Abbie Myers, Storm Sanders, Ivana Popovic, Olivia Gadecki, Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz, Alexandra Bozovic in the qualifying field.
Players will need to win three qualifying matches to qualify for the main draw and all matches are best of three sets. Following the event, the 16 qualifiers will be joined by a further six alternate players and travel to Australia to undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine with other main draw players.
The qualifying draw will be held on Saturday, January 9.