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Six of world's top 10 to play in Qatar

AFP  |  Doha 

Despite the loss of world number one Osaka through injury, six of the women's top 10 players descend on this week for the Open.

champion -- and the sport's new superstar -- Osaka withdrew last week due to a back injury, leaving a big hole to fill for tournament organisers, which they have done with a strong field including three former world number ones.

is now the top seed and the Romanian will be joined by the Czech Republic's and Germany's as the top seeds.

All three were formerly at the top of the women's rankings, Halep only being ousted by Osaka last month after

Halep, now ranked three in the world, and Kerber, sixth, are both Grand Slam winners. Pliskova, the world number five, is a former finalist.

Kerber is the first of these to arrive in as she seeks to erase the memory of her crushing straights sets fourth round defeat against in

"It's a tough draw [in Doha]," Kerber told reporters on Sunday. "But this is a challenge, and I'm always looking forward to coming here." All three top seeds have a good record in

Halep and Kerber met in the 2014 final, with the Romanian winning, and Pliskova won the title two years ago.

World number seven of -- a wildcard replacement for Osaka -- is the fourth seed.

Also in from the top 10 will be world number eight Kiki Bertens of the and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, ranked tenth.

The Dane was the in 2017.

Svitolina said she had changed her mind about playing in Doha after initially deciding she needed more rest after where she struggled with a

But the 24-year-old now feels she is ready to return to the court earlier than anticipated.

"This tournament, you know, here is always tough," she said.

"Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to play well. That's why it makes it not easy at all." The top four seeds are expected to be in action from Tuesday.

Halep and Pliskova could meet in the final in Doha, just days after the pair were set to meet against each other this weekend in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 10 2019. 19:20 IST