January 1, 2013


Jankovic Pulls Out of Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open with Viral Illness




With the day off from work to celebrate Yuan Dan, the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, fans packed the Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open stadium to enjoy a local display of brilliant tennis, with three of the five marquee matches featuring a victorious Chinese player. Li Na (CHN) teed up on her opponent Mandy Minella’s (LUX) pace, cranking her groundstrokes for a 6-4, 6-0 win. Peng Shuai (CHN) handily defeated Ayumi Morita (JPN) 6-1, 6-1, and lucky loser Zhou Yi-Miao (CHN) also dismissed qualifier Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-4, 6-2 to delight the center court crowd.


Li said, “I’m happy Shenzhen could host this tournament. We spend most of the year traveling outside the country, so if we can spend a few extra weeks in China, it’s not only good for us players, but also our friends and fans, who can come to our matches to encourage and support us.”


Li will next face 23rd seed Julia Cohen in the second round on Wednesday January 2. The crisp-striking eighth seed Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) awaits the winner in the quarters, having already dismissed Chinese wildcard Duan Ying-Ying 6-3, 6-1.


Meanwhile, compatriot Peng also cruised, rolling off six consecutive games in her match after getting broken in the first game. Peng showed her finesse, releasing a softly arcing dropshot to go up 3-1 in the second, which she followed by whipping four consecutive groundstroke winners to seize the next game and run away with the second set. 


Eighteen-year old Annika Beck (GER) played the spoiler, knocking out Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 6-3, 6-0 to prevent a quarterfinal collision between former doubles partners, Hsieh and Peng. Broken three times in the first set, Hsieh received a brief medical timeout before the second set to treat her hand, which had been troubling her for the past few days. After the match she noted that once she struggled with her serve, then nerves also got the best of her. She looked out of sorts in the second, attempting more dropshots than usual to end points quickly. Though she fought off one match point, she never threatened.


In contrast, Beck shone on the center court stage, smiling: “The atmosphere was great. It’s my first time in Asia and China -- I really love it. I played well and tried to keep the focus on myself, tried to play aggressive and put her under pressure. It worked out.” 

Beck is looking forward to her match with Peng, noting: “It will be a great match. It’s my first time in the quarterfinals of a WTA Tournament and I have nothing to lose.”


Former world no. 1 and third seed Jelena Jankovic’s 2013 season got off to a tough start as she was forced to pull out of the Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open with a viral illness. Lucky loser Zhou Yi-Miao (CHN), who had been knocked out of the qualifying rounds by Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) 6-2, 6-3, took advantage of assuming Jankovic’s slot in the main draw with her decisive 6-4, 6-2 win.


“I feel happy and lucky...to have this sudden [opportunity] today, and will keep working hard,” Zhou told fans after the match.


Ninth seed Monica Niculescu (ROM) could also benefit from Jankovic’s withdrawal. Having eliminated seventh seed Laura Robson (GBR) 6-2, 6-3, Niculescu now awaits the winner of the second round match between Chang Kai-Chen (TPE) and Jankovic’s replacement, lucky loser Zhou. 


Niculescu, “I am going to go step by step. Every match is important and it’s tough in the quarterfinals. I am happy to be healthy and go out on the court and play my game -- if it’s good, I’m going to win.”


Fifth seed Klara Zakopalova (CZE) defeated Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-4, 6-3 to potentially face second seed Marion Bartoli (FRA) in the quarterfinals, but Bartoli must first face qualifier Stefanie Voegele (SUI) on Wednesday January 2.


China also dominated the first day of 2013 doubles action, with the first seeded team of Chan Hao-Ching (TPE) and Chan Yung-Jan (TPE) dismantling Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) and Anne Keothavong (GBR) 6-0, 6-1 to set up a second round challenge with Chinese wildcard team Zhou Yi-Miao and Han Xinyun. 2008 Olympic doubles bronze medallist Yan Zi (CHN) and her new partner Chang Kai-Chen (TPE) defeated Nina Bratchikova (RUS) and Janette Husarova (SVK) 6-7(6), 6-4, 1-0(6) and will face the winner of the match between sisters Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE)/Hsieh Shu-Ying (TPE) and Irina Buryachok (UKR)/Valeria Solovieva (RUS). Should the sisters advance, this would give China a lock on three of the four doubles semifinal berths.


Tickets to the Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open can be purchased on the ticket hotline at 0755-82841888 and 0755-82841666, or online at the Shenzhen Concert Hall website, www.szyyt.com, and Bo Yan Piao, www.boyanpiao.com. Free ticket delivery within Shenzhen can also be arranged at 0755-82841666 / 11185.


The event has an English and Chinese language website and it can be found at:  www.ShenzhenOpenTennis.com


The Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open is organized by the Shenzhen Municipal Government, Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Longgang Municipal Government, CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company and the Chinese Tennis Association.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Robecta Yeung at 852-2894 0204 / 86 137 6037 3443 or email : Robecta.yeung@imgworld.com


About the 2013 Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open
Please visit: www.ShenzhenOpenTennis.com 


About Chinese Tennis Association
Please visit : www.tennis.org.cn 


About Shenzhen
Please visit: www.sz.gov.cn


About Longgang
Please visit: www.lg.gov.cn


About Gemdale
Please visit: www.gemdale.com


About CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company
Please visit: www.cctv-img.com


About IMG
Please visit: www.imgworld.com


About the WTA

Please visit: www.wtatennis.com