Super six join all-star cast to serve up a treat at Hong Kong Classic

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 November, 2010, 12:00am

Organisers are heralding one of the strongest fields for January's Hong Kong Classic after the remaining six players were announced yesterday.

The tournament boasts four women from the world's top 11 and six from the world's top 20 after Russia's Maria Kirilenko, France's Aravane Rezai, China's Zheng Jie (pictured) and fast-rising American Melanie Oudin were confirmed for the January 5-8 showpiece at Victoria Park.

The four will join the world number one and two, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Russian powerhouse Vera Zvonareva, plus American Venus Williams and China's Li Na in the elite field.

Hong Kong Patrons' Association president Ian Wade said: 'I can't remember when we last had such a stellar field.

'It must have been at least six or seven years ago.

'We have the number one and number two players in the world, Wozniacki and Zvonareva, plus Venus Williams and Li Na. I'm sure tennis fans can't wait to see all these stars.'

Li is on the fringe of joining the world's top 10 for the first time.

She is currently number 11 but is expected to move up one or two places following the shock retirement of Russia's Beijing Olympic champion Elena Dementieva, the world number nine, who wants to start a family.

Organisers also announced that Australia's Mark 'Scud' Philippoussis, the 2003 Wimbledon finalist, will be making his first appearance in Hong Kong in 10 years.

He last played at the Salem Open in 2001 and will take his place in the Asia-Pacific team.

Russia's two-time grand slam champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov will also be making a welcome return to the tournament, joining Sweden's Stefan Edberg and American John McEnroe.

Oudin will be an interesting addition to the tournament.

The American, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open last year, upset Italian Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-1 in the Fed Cup final last week. The Americans eventually lost the final after the Italians built an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Kirilenko, the world number 20, is the latest pin-up from the circuit, voted by many as the world's most beautiful player.

Rezai, the world number 19, has bagged four tournament victories so far, including wins in Madrid, Spain, and Bastad, Sweden, this year.

Tickets will go on sale from November 29 and are HK$360 to HK$880.