WATCH: In other Abu Dhabi news... Jelena Ostapenko defeats Danielle Collins in the first round


The WTA Tour has descended on the United Arab Emirates to kick off the Middle East swing, and top-seeded players are already revving up their engines ahead of the inaugural Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open.

For No. 1 Daria Kasatkina and No. 7 Anett Kontaveit, their pre-tournament preparations involved going for a spin around one of the region’s most iconic sporting venues: the Yas Marina Circuit, home to Formula 1’s season-ending Grand Prix.

This circuit has seen no shortage of dramatic finish line moments over the years—like the controversial end to the 2021 Abu Dhabi race, which saw Max Verstappen narrowly crowned as champion over Lewis Hamilton. But after Kasatkina and Kontaveit suited up for a lap of karting, the drama seemed to be just making it onto the track, as a video posted to social media showed the Estonian hilariously struggling to get into her gear.

“Oh Lord, that video,” Kontaveit lamented in the comments, while Shelby Rogers replied, “This is gold!”

Things went a lot more smoothly for Kontaveit on the court, as she took down Zhang Shuai 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Monday to make a winning start at the new WTA 500 event. She’ll face Rogers in the second round.

After receiving a bye, top seed Kasatkina will face the winner of Jil Teichmann and qualifier Dayana Yastremska in the second round.