The Dubai Tennis Championships will be the first WTA 1000 event of the 2023 season and several of the world’s top players will be in action.

Jelena Ostapenko won last year’s tournament by beating Veronika Kudermetova in the final and her title defense is a daunting task, to say the least, given the playing field.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka will be heavy favorites to win the Dubai Tennis Championships, as will Jessica Pegula. The likes of Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia and Belinda Bencic are also capable of challenging for the title.

On that note, let’s take a look at how the main draw of the women’s singles tournament at the 2023 Dubai Tennis Championships could unfold.

First Quarter: Iga Swiatek and Maria Sakkari favorites for quarter-final spots but Kudermetova not far behind

Seeded Players: (1) Iga Swiatek, (6) Maria Sakkari, (10) Veronika Kudermetova, (14) Liudmila Samsonova

Expected Quarter-final: Iga Swiatek vs Maria Sakkari

Dark Horse: Paula Badosa

Analysis: This quarter has Iga Swiatek who has been performing brilliantly so far in the Qatar Open following her premature exit at the Australian Open.

The Pole will face either Leylah Fernandez or a qualifier in the second round and given her form, she should have little trouble reaching the third round, where her most likely opponent will be Liudmila Samsonova. However, the likes of Paula Badosa, Zhang Shuai and Zheng Qinwen should not be written off.

Swiatek should be able to beat whoever she faces and book her place in the quarter-finals. Here, she will most likely face sixth seed Maria Sakkari.

The likes of Veronika Kudermetova and Karolina Pliskova are more than capable of challenging the Greek. However, she should manage to seal her spot in the last eight of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Quarter-final Prediction: Iga Swiatek def. Maria Sakkari

Second Quarter: Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia, Elena Rybakina, Victoria Azarenka constitute exciting draw

Seeded Players: (4) Caroline Garcia, (5) Coco Gauff, (9) Elena Rybakina, (15) Victoria Azarenka

Expected Quarter-final: Coco Gauff vs Victoria Azarenka

Dark Horse: Bianca Andreescu

Analysis: The second quarter of the Dubai Tennis Championships is an interesting one with Caroline Garcia, Coco Gauff, Elena Rybakina and Victoria Azarenka all capable of reaching the quarter-finals.

Garcia is the highest-ranked player in this quarter and will most likely face Madison Keys in the second round. The Frenchwoman has produced some impressive performances over the past few months and should be able to reach the third round without much trouble.

Here, she will most likely take on Victoria Azarenka, who reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open last month. The former World No. 1 looks in good touch at the moment and there is a fair chance she could defeat Garcia and reach the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The other side of the draw has Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina, who will most likely square off in the third round. While the likes of Bianca Andreescu, Sofia Kenin and Marie Bouzkova are capable of doing well, it’s hard to rule out Gauff and Rybakina from the round of 16 given their recent performances.

The two played out a thrilling encounter at the Canadian Open, which the American won 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (3). Gauff will have find it challenging but should manage to just about scrape through to the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Quarter-final prediction: Victoria Azarenka def. Coco Gauff

Third quarter: Beatriz Haddad Maia will look to challenge Jessica Pegula and Belinda Bencic

Seeded Players: (3) Jessica Pegula, (8) Belinda Bencic, (11) Beatriz Haddad Maia, (16) Ekaterina Alexandrova

Expected Quarterfinal: Jessica Pegula vs Belinda Bencic

Dark Horse: Karolina Muchova

Analysis: Third seed Jessica Pegula and eighth seed Belinda Bencic are the two clear favorites to reach the last eight from this quarter. However, the likes of Beatriz Haddad Maia and Ekaterina Alexandrova can give them a run for their money.

Pegula has produced some brilliant tennis over the past 10 to 12 months and should have little trouble reaching the round of 16, where she will most likely face Ekaterina Alexandrova. The American looks in top form at the moment and will most probably defeat the Russian to reach the quarter-finals.

Belinda Bencic has made a terrific start to the 2023 season, winning 14 out of 16 matches so far. The Swiss withdrew from the Qatar Open due to fitness reasons and will look to be in good shape in Dubai.

Bencic should have little trouble making it to the third round of the Dubai Tennis Championships, where she will most probably face either Beatriz Haddad Maia or Karolina Muchova. Given her recent run of form, the 25-year-old should manage to beat either of the two and book her place in the quarter-finals.

Quarter-final prediction: Jessica Pegula def. Belinda Bencic

Fourth Quarter: Aryna Sabalenka looks to build on Australian Open triumph

Seeded Players: (2) Aryna Sabalenka, (7) Daria Kasatkina, (12) Petra Kvitova, (13) Jelena Ostapenko

Expected Quarterfinal: Aryna Sabalenka vs Petra Kvitova

Dark Horse: Barbora Krejcikova

Analysis: Second seed Aryna Sabalenka has had a sizeable break after winning the Australian Open and will be a heavy favorite to win the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The Belarusian’s potential opponents in the first couple of rounds include Jil Teichmann, Danielle Collins and Linda Fruhvirtova. But she should be able to get the better of either of them and reach the third round. Here, Sabalenka will most likely take on 13th seed Jelena Ostapenko, who is quite a formidable opponent these days.

The Latvian reached the Australian Open quarter-finals and recently put up a tough fight against Jessica Pegula in Doha. However, Sabalenka’s current form should see her beat Ostapenko and seal her place in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The other side of the quarter has seventh seed Daria Kasatkina, who will be eager to do well after a second-round exit at the Qatar Open. The Russian, however, faces a potentially tough match in the second round as she will most likely face Barbora Krejcikova.

The winner will probably face 12th seed Petra Kvitova in the round of 16. The 32-year-old still has some good tennis left in her and there is a good chance of her reaching the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Quarter-final prediction: Aryna Sabalenka def. Petra Kvitova

Semi-final predictions

Iga Swiatek def. Victoria Azarenka

Jessica Pegula def. Aryna Sabalenka

Final prediction

Jessica Pegula def. Iga Swiatek