SHENZHEN, December 27, 2018 (Press Release)
Players from China feature strongly in the doubles field for the $US750,000 2019 Shenzhen Open with two of the top four seeded tandems being national players. The tournament will be played at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre from 29 December 2018 to 5 January 2019.
Peng Shuai, one of the most recognisable names in Chinese tennis and the 2017 Shenzhen Open doubles champion, will team up with Yang Zhaoxuan to form the tournament’s second seeds. Peng, a two-time doubles major winner at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, as well as winner of the WTA Finals, reached the doubles final in Dubai and the doubles semis of the Australian Open in 2018, while Yang claimed her third career doubles title in Dubai and reached the French Open doubles semis in 2018. Yang is also no stranger to winning in the city of Shenzhen, having picked up the ITF Shenzhen 2 doubles title last month.
The fourth seeds will be Zhang Shuai and Wang Yafan, who rank 33 and 92 respectively. Zhang claimed three titles in 2018 – Hong Kong, Hiroshima and Istanbul as well as making the US Opens semis, while Wang picked up the Chinese Taipei title.
“China’s players are very well represented in the doubles draw. Besides having two of the top four seeds, we also have Duan Yingying and Zheng Saisai featuring prominently in the doubles and fans will no doubt get quite a thrill to see so many of their national players at the forefront,” Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho said.
“It is a tough doubles draw with a combination of experience, like the great Vera Zvonareva, who was also awarded the singles wild card, and younger players looking to carve their names on tour.”
Top doubles seeds for the 2019 Shenzhen Open will be Japan’s Shuko Aoyama and Lidziya Marozava. They teamed up with good success in 2018, reaching the final of the WTA’s second year-end event at Zhuhai as well as the Hong Kong final, and the semis at Wuhan where they stopped top seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. Aoyama and Marozava have also scored quality finishes at several events with other partners, with Marozava notably making the semifinals here in Shenzhen last year (with Lesley Kerkhove of the Netherlands).
The third seeds are likely to be Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia and Russian Irina Khromacheva. Together they won a title in Bogota, and made the quarters at the US Open and Monterrey.
Two of the most experienced players on tour, Zvonareva and Timea Bacsinszky, will be re-teaming here in Shenzhen. In 2018, they won in St. Petersburg and with different partners, Zvonareva also won in her home city of Moscow (with Anastasia Potapova) and Bacsinszky reached the final (with Lara Arruabarrena) in one of the most picturesque cities of her nation, Gstaad.
Georgian Oksana Kalashnikova and Romanian Irina Bara will also be joining forces again. They were quarterfinalists in Moscow in 2018 but during the season, Kalashnikova also made the quarters or better five times including the final in Chinese Taipei. Meanwhile, Bara was a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros and at the Shenzhen Open, losing a nail-biter to eventual champions Irina-Camelia Begu and Simona Halep.
China’s Duan Yingying partners Czech Renata Voracova. Both players had success in 2018 with other partners; Duan won in Chinese Taipei and made the quarters or better three other times and Voracova, a winner of ten career doubles titles, made the last eight or better five times.
In 2019, defending doubles champion Begu will team up with China’s Zheng Saisai to make what should be a formidable combination. Besides her win at the Shenzhen Open, Begu also won Bucharest, was a finalist twice (Tashkent and Eastbourne), a semi-finalist at the Australian Open and a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon. Zheng was a doubles quarterfinalist three times this year.
On the singles court, veteran Peng Shuai will be the second local wild card to feature in the singles main draw, joining teenage compatriot Wang Xinyu who was previously revealed as the first wild card. The 32-year-old Peng will be making her sixth appearance in the season-opening tournament, having made the last four in 2013 and the final in 2014.
Russian Vera Zvonareva, who is making her third appearance here in Shenzhen, will also feature in the singles main draw as a top 20 wild card. After illness sidelined her career for a while, the 34-year-old Russian has worked her way back up the rankings and is currently 109 in singles. She reached the singles finals at Wimbledon and the US Open as well as a career high ranking of two in 2010. A quarterfinalist at the 2015 Shenzhen Open, her most notable run of 2018 came when she advanced through the qualifying to reach the quarters in Moscow.
Adding to the local flavour, two more up-and-coming locals, Yang Zhaoxua and Wang Meiling, have been given wild cards to play in the singles qualifying rounds of the tournament, while Jiang Xinyu/Tang Qianhui and Xun Fangying/Wang Xinyu will partner up as wild card pairs in the doubles main draw.
The tournament is very pleased to also announce that the first two days, December 29 and 30, will see free admission provided for Centre Court matches and there will be free admission to the other two match courts throughout the week.