SHENZHEN, January 3, 2020 (Press Release)
The first Shenzhen Open of the new decade is all set to raise the curtain on the 2020 season this weekend, running from 4-11 January 2020 at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre situated in the Longgang district of Shenzhen.
Tournament organisers held a press conference this afternoon at The Coli Hotel, the new official hotel for the tournament, with the ceremony featuring Mr. Zhang Zhenyang, Head of the Sports Industry Development Office of the Shenzhen Culture, Media, Tourism and Sports Bureau and Mr. Yang Xianbin, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Culture, Media, Tourism and Sports of the Longgang District.
Also present were representatives from premier sponsors, Mr. Marcus Kam, Chief Commercial Officer of Gemdale Sports, Mr. Ma Kai, General Manager of Kaisa Culture & Sports Group and the Tournament Director Mr. Luiz Carvalho, along with tournament top seed Belinda Bencic and Chinese wild card Wang Xiyu.
“We are delighted to welcome back defending champion Aryna along with so many young and fast rising players on the tour such as Belinda and Elise and Grand Slam winner Garbiñe. We are especially thrilled to see so many Chinese players gaining direct entry into the main draw, led by Wang Qiang, who has played in every edition of this event. We also have an exciting doubles draw to look forward to, with four top ten players participating,” said Carvalho.
The US$775,000 championship will once again welcome an intriguing mix of rising stars and experienced players amongst its stellar lineup, with Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka leading the way as the singles top two seeds.
Top seed and current world No.8 Bencic, who will make her Shenzhen Open debut next week, has four career titles but will be gunning to pick up her first trophy on Chinese soil – her best performance in China came in 2014, when she made the finals in Tianjin.
“I’m really happy that I can start the season here at this tournament because I decided myself to make the schedule like this. I think it’s a perfect place to start and I hope this can be a perfect start for another great season,” said the Swiss.
Meanwhile, number two seed Sabalenka is all too familiar with winning in China. The world No. 11 has five singles career titles, four of which have come in China and three of which she won last year in Shenzhen, Wuhan and Zhuhai respectively.
Other players joining the singles main draw include world No.17 Elise Mertens (No.3 seed), two-time Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza (No.5 seed) and 20-year-old rising star Elena Rybakina (No.6 seed), who shot up 155 spots to world No. 37 in a breakthrough 2019 that saw her lift her maiden trophy at Bucharest.
No Chinese player has made the singles finals here since 2014, when Li Na defeated compatriot Peng Shuai to take her second Shenzhen Open title in consecutive seasons, but all that may change in 2020 with China having a record-breaking total of six players gaining direct entry into the draw along with three other wild card entries.
Joining No. 4 seed Wang Qiang to make up the Chinese contingent are Wimbledon quarterfinalist Zhang Shuai, San Jose champion Zheng Saisai, Acapulco champion Wang Yafan, 2014 runner-up Peng Shuai and Zhu Lin, who notched an impressive win against Elise Mertens at Dubai.
Along with Wang Xiyu, 30-year-old WTA veteran Duan Yingying and exciting 18-year-old rising star Wang Xinyu were also granted wild card entries into the main draw.
“I’m very happy to be given this chance here. My goal this year to break the Top 100 so I can qualify for more tournaments and play with top players,” said Wang Xiyu at the press conference.
The qualifying round of the Shenzhen Open kicks off tomorrow at 11am, with Tatjana Maria, Nina Stojanovic, Timea Babos and Jasmine Paolini as the top ranked in the qualifying draw.
Romania’s Monica Niculescu, who has played in all seven previous editions of this tournament and made the quarterfinal last year from the qualifying round, is the eighth qualifying seed.
The singles main draw ceremony will be held from 2pm at the stadium tomorrow and will be streamed on the tournament social media channels.
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