Sabalenka, Mertens Lead Shenzhen Open Doubles Field

SHENZHEN, December 30, 2019 (Press Release)

Doubles is always a fascinating part of a tournament schedule and when you get some of the world’s best doubles players in a tournament field, fans will be treated to a lot of exciting and entertaining tennis.

The $US775,000 2020 Shenzhen Open, to be played from 4 to 11 January on the courts of the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Center, is playing host to some sensational doubles combinations including one of the best in the world. The tournament doubles top seeds will feature US Open champions Aryna Sabalenka, who is also the Shenzhen Open singles defending champion, and Elise Mertens.

Together, they carved quite a swathe through the tour in 2019, highlighted by their US Open victory that saw them defeat the defending champions Victoria Azarenka and Ash Barty. They also claimed titles in Indian Wells and Miami, which gave them what is affectionally known as the “Sunshine Double”.

The Belarusian-Belgian combination were also finalists at Wuhan, semifinalists at the French Open and made the last eight at Wimbledon.

Not far behind them will be the second seeded all-Czech combination of Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova, who also stamped their mark on the tour in 2019. Together they won in Toronto and Linz, made the final in Indian Wells, were semifinalists at Wimbledon, Rome and Brisbane and were quarterfinalists three other times, including at the Australian Open.

Coming in as the third seeds will be the first of China’s national players as Duan Yingying and Zheng Saisai join forces. Duan was a doubles finalist at the 2019 Shenzhen Open as well at Zhuhai, Strasbourg and Anning, and won Wuhan with a variety of partners. However, Duan and Zheng teamed up to reach the French Open doubles final, the quarters at the US Open and the 16’s at Wimbledon.

Rounding out the top four seeded tandems will be another Chinese combination featuring Zhang Shuai and our defending doubles champion Peng Shuai. Together, they were finalists at Nanchang in 2019, but they also had great success with other partners through the past season. Zhang most notably won the Australian Open, was a finalist at Miami as well as making the quarters at high profile events like the French Open, Madrid and Rome while Peng won two other titles and was a semifinalist three other times.

Irina-Camelia Begu, who won the Shenzhen Open doubles title in 2018, teams up in 2020 with Kristyna Pliskova to try and repeat that success. The fifth seeds did not join forces in 2019 but still featured at the business end of a lot of events. Begu won Hua Hin and reached two other semis and quarters, while Pliskova won Bucharest and reached four semis, including three with her twin sister Karolina.

Another new combination sees experienced Romanian Raluca Olaru joining up with Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic to make up the sixth seeded pair. Olaru was a semifinalist three times in 2019 and a quarterfinalist a staggering eight times, including at big events such as Indian Wells and Miami. Jakupovic reached two finals, three semis and three quarters.

Anna-Lena Friedsam and Margarita Gasparyan are next on the seedings at number seven. Friedsam won at Stuttgart and Gasparyan also picked up a title last season at St. Petersburg.

Rounding out the seeded pairs are the eighth seeds comprising American Sabrina Santamaria and Swede Cornelia Lister. Santamaria was a doubles finalist twice in 2019, at Istanbul and Tashkent, while Lister won the doubles in Palermo.

“The doubles draw here at the Shenzhen Open has always been a source of great entertainment with plenty of thrilling matches and big-name winners in our history. This year, we are privileged to once again welcome such a strong lineup that includes the US Open Grand Slam winning pair of Sabalenka and Mertens, along with two former world No.1 players joining forces in the form of Siniakova and Krejcikova. With two in-form Chinese pairs also among the top four seeds, we are expecting to see the local crowds come in and set the stage for some passionately contested doubles matches next week,” said Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho.

There will be free admission to all courts for the first two days, January 4 and 5, and the other two match courts (Court 1 and 2) throughout the week. Tickets are available through www.damai.cn or national hotline 10103721.