SHENZHEN, November 26, 2018 (Press Release)
It has been one of the curtain raisers to each new season on the WTA Tour for the last six years and the $US750,000 Shenzhen Open will once again hold that honour as it plays host to some of the most recognisable names in women’s tennis at the start of the new year.
The Shenzhen Open will be staged at the now familiar Shenzhen Longgang Sports Center from 29 December 2018 to 5 January 2019, and will feature a new Tournament Director, Brazilian Luiz Carvalho, who is extremely excited to be spearheading the championship for the first time.
“China is an incredibly fascinating place and the variety of settings continues to fascinate all who come in contact with the country. Women’s tennis has an incredible following in China and we are proud to be the nation’s first tournament each year,” said Carvalho
The Organizing Committee of Shenzhen Open today announced that one of the most recognisable names in all sport, Maria Sharapova, along with major title winner Jelena Ostapenko, will be leading the field. They will be joined by French star Caroline Garcia as well as exciting Chinese junior Grand Slam champs Wang Xinyu and Wang Xiyu.
“The entire line-up of players will be announced in due course, but this is an opportunity to let all fans of the Shenzhen Open know in advance that we are in for an exciting week of tennis at Shenzhen Longgang Sports Center,” added Carvalho.
Women’s tennis has welcomed the return of Maria Sharapova, whose name goes beyond that of being a successful tennis star. This will be the second consecutive year that Sharapova plays the Shenzhen Open. A winner of five career Grand Slam titles, the 31-year-old started the 2018 season by reaching the semis at the Shenzhen Open. She was also a semi-finalist in Rome and a quarterfinalist in Madrid and at Roland Garros.
Jelena Ostapenko is one of the most exciting young talents in the women’s game. In 2017, she enthralled the tennis world when she charged to the French Open title by defeating Simona Halep in a highly dramatic final. It was a 20th birthday present to herself that she will never forget.
The Latvian became the first from her nation to win a singles major and, in addition to winning a second title that year, also reached a career high ranking of five. In 2018, Ostapenko reached the final at Miami, the semis of Wimbledon (grass being her favourite surface) and the quarters in Eastbourne, Rome, Stuttgart and St. Petersburg. This will be her second consecutive appearance at the Shenzhen Open.
Caroline Garcia has also enjoyed a big year on the tour. She reached a career high ranking of No.4 and won her sixth career title in Tianjin upsetting Karolina Pliskova in the final. She was a semi-finalist in Madrid and Stuttgart, where she beat Sharapova and Elina Svitolina, and was a quarterfinalist seven other times.
It will be the French player’s second visit to Shenzhen and the first since 2013 when she played the qualifying event.
Local fans will be most excited to see the return of China’s two biggest rising stars. At just 17-years-old, both Wang Xinyu and Wang Xiyu have made waves this year with impressive performances at the majors.
Wang Xiyu picked up the 2018 US Open Girls Singles title to become China’s first Grand Slam girls singles champ and also emerged victorious in the Wimbledon junior doubles event, taking the title with partner Wang Xinyu.
In addition to her triumph at Wimbledon, Xinyu had earlier in the year won the Australian Open junior doubles trophy with partner Liang En-shuo. She also made her first appearance in the singles main draw of a major having played superbly and with determination to win the Australian Open wild card play-off.
Mr. Liu Wenbin, Director of Tennis Administration Center of the General Administration of Sport of China and Deputy Chairman of Chinese Tennis Association said: “Every year, the Shenzhen Open grows and continues to be an exciting stop on the world tour as well as being a very important part of China’s tennis development. From the tournament’s first year when Li Na won the title, fans have greatly enjoyed seeing so many tremendous female players gracing our courts.
“We are looking forward to another outstanding year with wonderful names in action. It is also a great pleasure to welcome our new tournament director, Mr. Luiz Carvalho, and we look forward to working with him on another successful tournament.”
The Shenzhen Open 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.
Returning for the 2019 event will be the popular Kids Day. This will be its fourth year and will be held on Sunday December 30. This year, some of the kids lucky enough to be part of the fun will be recruited via the Shenzhen Open’s official Weibo and WeChat accounts. Details will be announced closer to the date.