CHENGDU, September 20, 2019 (Press Release)
The Chengdu Open 2019 is back at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre for the fourth year running and is set to commence on Saturday with qualifying rounds being contested from 11am onwards and the singles main draw ceremony held live at the stadium form 3pm onwards.
South Korean Hyeon Chung, a former world No.19 ranked player and 2018 Australian Open semifinalist, has been announced as one of three wild cards in the singles draw, following the withdrawal of previously announced wild card Mikael Ymer of Sweden.
The 23-year-old Hyeon reached his career high in May last year in the midst of a breakout season where he made the quarterfinals or better at ten events. However, the Suwon native was out of action from 11 February through to 29 July of this year due to a back injury and saw his ranking fall to No.170, his lowest since 2014.
The Korean is now back on the rise after winning a Challenger in July right here in Chengdu and securing a five-game winning streak to make the third round of the US Open last month. His run from qualifying included an incredible rally from two sets down to oust world No.34 Fernando Verdasco in the second round.
The other two singles main draw wild cards were given to local players, with 33-year-old Tianjin native Li Zhe and 30-year-old Shanghai born Bai Yan set to make rare appearances in the main draw of a Tour level tournament. Both players are ranked outside the top 200, with Li currently at No. 242 (career high of No. 210) and Bai at No. 225 (career high No.200).
Qualifying round wild cards were provided to two young Chinese rising stars who have been performing well on the ITF circuit. Twenty-one-year-old Cui Jie is at a career best of no. 629 after deep runs in several ITF tournaments this year and will be joined in qualifying by 25-year-old Gao Xin, who is fresh off picking up a doubles Challenger title at Shanghai earlier this month.
Two previous Chengdu Open singles champions are set for an early showdown in the qualifying round. Defending champion Bernard Tomic of Australia, who picked up his fourth career title against top seed Fabio Fognini last year, will take on 2017 champ Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the first round of qualifying on Satruday.
The two players have faced off five times before on tour between 2012 and 2016, with 26-year-old Tomic leading the series 4-1. The exciting tie is the second match slated for Court 1 tomorrow and will follow the match between local wild card Cui and South African Lloyd Harris, which starts at 11am.
Saturday’s singles main draw ceremony will feature two familiar faces and two debutants amongst the top four seeds.
Former world No.8, John Isner of the USA, is the top seeded singles player with a current ranking of No.20 and will be making his first appearance here in Chengdu. The 34-year-old has 15 career titles since 2010, with the latest coming this year at Newport in July.
At just 19 years of age, world No.21 Felix Auger-Aliassime is arguably one of the hottest prospects in male tennis at the moment. The 6-foot-4 Canadian, who lost to eventual champ Tomic in the quarterfinal here last year, started the season just outside the top 100 but has steadily climbed the rankings with incredibly consistent performances.
He made his first three finals appearances of his career this year – at Rio, Lyon and Stuttgart – and as the singles second seed, is in a good position to make his first hard court final here at Chengdu.
French world No.23 Benoit Paire is seeded third and will be making his debut here in Chengdu after a strong season that saw him pick up his second and third career titles on the clay courts of Marrakech and Lyon respectively, while also making his fourth career hard court final at Winston-Salem.
Fourth seed in the singles will be crowd favourite Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who has had struggles on court early this season along with a niggling right shoulder injury but seemed to have come back to his best form in last month’s US Open.
The former world No.3’s run to the last four of the Grand Slam included a stunning five set comeback win over world No.3 Roger Federer in the quarterfinals. This is the 28-year-old’s second time playing in the Chengdu Open, having made the last four here in 2016.
The main draw ceremony will be open for public viewing and will commence at 3pm at the stadium’s outdoor interactive area.
There will be free admission to qualifying round matches, Court 1 and 2 matches. Tickets for the Chengdu Open Main Draw Center Court matches through to the finals are available through www.damai.cn