SHENZHEN, December 29, 2018 (Press Release)
The first round qualifying matches of the Shenzhen Open 2019 are set to get underway on Saturday over three courts at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.
The strong qualifying field, with a cutoff ranking of No.144, features four players each from Russia and China, two from Romania and one each from France, Ukraine, Japan, Spain, Serbia and Montenegro.
Anna Blinkova, Monica Niculescu, Fiona Ferro and Anhelina Kalinina are the top four seeded players in the qualifying draw, while 23-year-old Yang Zhaoxuan is the lone wild card in the qualifiers.
Saturday’s matches will commence from 11am, with sixth seeded Chinese Zhu Lin taking on Spaniard Georgina Garcia Perez in the tournament’s opening match on Centre Court.
The second match on Centre Court will feature another local player, Liu Fangzhou, going up against Ukraine’s Kalinina.
The other six matches will be played on Court 1 and Court 2.
Off the court, tournament singles second seed Caroline Garcia of France and local star Duan Ying-Ying took time out for a fun activity at the Crowne Plaza Shenzhen Longgang City Centre this afternoon to try their hands at concocting one of China’s most popular pastries – fried sesame balls.
Known locally as jian dui, the pastry dough is made from glutinous rice flour and is coated liberally with sesame seeds on the outside to create a crisp savoury-sweet treat.
Guided by the Fortuna restaurant pastry chef, the duo were first taught how to mix the dough from scratch, before learning how to cut the dough, insert the red bean paste filling and coat the balls with sesame seeds.
World No. 19 Garcia, who enjoys cooking when she has time, thoroughly relished the experience of preparing the sesame balls and shared some of her own thoughts on food preparation.
“When it comes to cooking, you need to make sure you have enough time for preparation and that you have all the ingredients you want. Sometimes, you also have to be ingenious and make your own recipes. For me, I always try to keep things simple but to have a lot of taste,” said the 25-year-old.
Back in Shenzhen for the first time since playing in the inaugural edition of the tournament, the Frenchwoman was impressed by how the Shenzhen Open has evolved.
“It’s really nice and a little bit different from the first edition. The organization is better and I can see more seats have been built. It’s a good tournament to come to as a preparation for the Australian Open and I’m very happy to be back in Shenzhen,” added Garcia.
The main draw ceremony will be held at the stadium tomorrow from 2.30pm onwards and will be open for viewing to members of the public.
Local rising star and singles wild card Wang Xinyu, who picked up two junior Grand Slam doubles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, will be present at the ceremony as the guest of honour.