Kim Clijsters faces an unexpectedly tough first match on her comeback after seven years out in Dubai this week – against Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza.
Clijsters, 36, had been due to play Kiki Bertens but the eighth-ranked Dutch player withdrew after reaching the Sunday final in St Petersburg. Her absence moved tournament wild card Muguruza into the draw opposite Clijsters, the four-time Grand Slam singles champion and mother-of-three who is making a return after last competing at the 2012 US Open.
Spain’s Muguruza, a two-time Major winner, becomes the ninth seed and will take on Clijsters in the first round at the Aviation Club. Top seed Simona Halep and No 2 Karolina Pliskova both have byes into the second round.