The WTA 500 event in the UAE's capital city will feature a stacked draw in both the singles and doubles competitions, with main draw action beginning on Monday, February 5th, and running until February 11th at the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre.
Osaka, who is one of the main star attractions in the field, joins the likes of Elena Rybakina, Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari, and Barbora Krejcikova, who are set to compete during the week. The four-time Grand Slam singles champion only returned to the tour this season after a year-long hiatus.
Osaka missed the entire 2023 season after taking a maternity break. She gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Shai, last July. Since then, she revealed her intention to play a full schedule in 2024.
That certainly appears to be the case, with the Japanese playing two tournaments in January and wanting to partake in the Middle East swing. Osaka announced that she would play in singles and doubles at the Abu Dhabi Open, which is the first stop of three tournaments in the Gulf region.
Osaka received a wild card to play in Abu Dhabi and was drawn to play a qualifier in her opening round. But she drew one of the toughest qualifiers imaginable in former Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins, with that match scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
And now the 26-year-old has learned the identity of her doubles opponents. Osaka will join forces with Arab sensation Ons Jabeur in doubles to face the Chinese duo of Saisai Zheng and Xinyu Wang.
The Japanese player is seeking more minutes on a match court after winning just one of three matches on Australian soil last month. And playing doubles should aid her in refining her game and doing away with rust-related issues.