Ivanovic targeted for Hong Kong Open
Organisers looking to secure 'top-10' player to build September event's prestige
Glamorous Serbian former world number one and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic is a target for organisers of the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open in Victoria Park.
Following the signing, for September's inaugural WTA tournament, of Canadian sensation Eugenie Bouchard, organisers said they were working hard to secure another top player.
World number 13 Bouchard, 20, last night defeated Romanian Simona Halep 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to reach the final of the women's singles at Wimbledon.
Ivanovic proved hugely popular when she visited Hong Kong in 2008 - the same year she won her first and only grand slam title and reached the world number one spot. Although her career has seen some extended dips of form since her French Open triumph, the 26-year-old right-hander has returned to top form this year, with a quarter-final finish in the Australian Open and impressive results in Europe, including Madrid, Rome and most recently Birmingham, and her world ranking has risen to 11.
"Theoretically we should have at least one top-10 player in the tournament and we are yet to confirm that player," said Michael Cheng Ming-git, honorary secretary of the Hong Kong Tennis Association.
"But we are also keen to find someone who has a strong profile in the sport such as Ana Ivanovic, someone that can help build the reputation of a new tournament like ours."
Cheng admitted there were difficulties in securing some of the players this year because the US$250,000 tournament event is to be held right after the US Open, but added that the situation would improve in 2015 when the tournament is shifted to October.
"Hong Kong is an ideal destination for tennis players with its good location and services," said Cheng. "This is the first time in two decades we will stage a WTA tournament and have to build the event step by step."
China's Peng Shuai and her partner Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan, currently the world number one doubles pair, meanwhile, were confirmed yesterday for both the singles and doubles competitions in Hong Kong.
Book tickets for the September 8-14 event, from HK$160 to HK$880 per day, at www.hongkongtennisopen.com