Hong Kong Tennis Open to feature five of the world’s top 13 players in star-studded line-up
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and evergreen Venus Williams among star names to compete
World number five Caroline Wozniacki will be back at Victoria Park to defend her Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open title when the tournament starts on October 9 after the organisers announced a star-studded field for this year’s edition.
The Dane will be joined by crowd favourite Venus Williams, who has enjoyed a late-career resurgence and is ranked ninth in the world after reaching the finals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
British number one Johanna Konta, the world number seven, will be hoping to go further than she was able to last year after she was forced to withdraw through injury before her second round match, while Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the world No 11, will also make an overdue debut.
Last year’s runner-up, Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, announced her participation last week.
The US$500,000 WTA International Series extravaganza will be back in Hong Kong for a fourth time after the success of the three previous editions following an extended hiatus of some 10 years.
The star quintet will be joined by Chinese number three and reigning Asian Games champion Wang Qiang, and the previously announced Chinese number two, Zhang Shuai.
Organisers said further marquee names would be added in the run-up to the event.
Hong Kong Tennis Association president Philip Mok said he was pleased with the standard of player the fledgling tournament had again managed to attract.
“Five of the world’s top 13 players is phenomenal for a WTA International Series event and shows the growing reputation of the tournament after only three years,” Mok said.
“We are honoured to be hosting former number one players, grand slam champions, rising stars and fan favourites with what is a really diverse field of players.”
Seven-time grand slam singles champion Williams, ever popular in Hong Kong, will be coming to the tournament at the end of a season in which she has played some of her best tennis in years.
The 37-year-old became the oldest woman to reach a grand slam final since Martina Navratilova in 1994. It will be the American’s third trip to the Hong Kong Tennis Open.
Another face familiar to Hong Kong fans will be former world number one Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane, who was eliminated in the second round of the ongoing US Open on Thursday, has also seen a resurgence in 2017, reaching six finals at Doha, Dubai, Miami, Eastbourne, Bastad and Toronto.
British number one Konta has been one of the biggest success stories of the past two years, rising from outside the top 150 to the top 10 in rapid style.
The two-time WTA winner reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in her home slam earlier this year where her gutsy play and determination gained her a host of new fans.
World No 11 Radwanska is another popular player on the tour and she has the awards to prove it, having been voted the WTA Fan Favourite player for an astonishing six years in a row between 2011 and 2016.
As usual, coveted places at the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore will be in the balance towards the season’s climax and with valuable points up for grabs, the Hong Kong event is always hotly contested.