Eugenie Bouchard and Samantha Stosur among the latest to sign on for star-studded Hong Kong Tennis Open
Canadian hoping to make it third time lucky as she commits to Victoria Park event, while Stosur returns for a third year
The marquee names continue to commit to playing at next month’s Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open after organisers revealed that Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Australian former grand slam champion Samantha Stosur will make the trip to Victoria Park.
Bouchard, a huge WTA drawcard despite a couple of seasons of below-par performances, will be hoping to make it third time lucky and finally make a long-awaited appearance in Hong Kong after previous attempts to bring the 23-year-old to the city ended in failure.
Stosur, a former semi-finalist in Hong Kong, will make a third appearance.
Also joining them will be Australia’s Daria Gavrilova, who reached the semi-finals last year, Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, American Catherine Bellis and highly-rated Japanese youngster Naomi Osaka, who knocked former world number one Angelique Kerber out at the recent US Open in New York.
The stellar cast for the October 7-15 tournament already included US Open champion Sloane Stephens, world number five Venus Williams, defending Hong Kong champion Caroline Wozniacki and British number one Johanna Konta who all previously confirmed their attendance.
The US$500,000 International Series event is well placed on the WTA calendar as a last chance for players to collect valuable points in order to qualify for the hugely lucrative end-of-season championships in Singapore. As a result, it attracts fields that are the envy of the organisers of comparable events on the calendar, and this year’s edition is no different.
Stephens, who captured a first major crown at Flushing Meadows earlier this month, was confirmed to participate as part of a second tranche of players who had requested to participate on the Asian swing of the season.
After a lengthy injury lay-off, the American returned to action this summer and reached the semi-finals in Toronto and Cincinnati last month, before registering a barnstorming run at the US Open where she defeated five seeded players, including Williams, on her way to the title.
Bouchard, who was a runner-up at Wimbledon in 2014 and reached a career high world ranking of number five that year, was the source of some controversy in Hong Kong tennis circles three years ago after she pulled out of an appearance at the inaugural edition of the event.
Then Hong Kong Tennis Association president Herbert Chow Siu-lung was hit with a US$10,000 fine by the WTA after making “disparaging” comments about the Canadian following her last-minute withdrawal.
She was again forced to pull out of the event the following year after she sustained a concussion at the US Open.
Pavlyuchenkova, Bellis and Osaka will be competing in Hong Kong for the first time.
Pavlyuchenkova, the world No 23, has won twice this season in Rabat and Monterrey. Bellis, the youngest player in the world’s top 50 at 18 years old, has secured some high-profile wins already in her short career.
Osaka, was a runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki in Tokyo last year before being named the 2016 WTA Newcomer of the Year.