January 6, 2018

Romanian World No.1 Simona Halep enjoyed a winning start to her season as she lifted the Shenzhen Open singles title with a strong 6-1, 2-6, 6-0 victory over defending champion Katerina Siniakova in 74 minutes.

After a four hour rain delay, the match was played at the indoor tennis stadium of the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.

The singles top seed did not face a single break point and won 70% of her service points in a powerful first set display but had her serve broken three times in the second as her 21-year-old Czech opponent staged a comeback.

However, 26-year-old Halep showed just why she was the world No.1 in the final set, winning 24 out of 30 points as she served her opponent a bagel to complete the victory in some style. The trophy marks Halep’s sixteenth career title and second here in Shenzhen after her win in 2015.

“It’s been a great week for me as I’ve been playing very well. It was a difficult match and (Siniakova) played very well. She beat Sharapova which is great - I know that feeling. I think we had a great match today. I tried everything to win. I was a little bit less nervous and just tried to enjoy the moment even if we are playing indoors. It’s not easy but we did our job and I’m happy that I could win the first title of the year,” said Halep.

January 6, 2018

January 5, 2018

Two former champions, top seed Simona Halep and sixth seed Katerina Siniakova, have booked their spots in tomorrow’s exciting finale, albeit in contrasting styles, this evening at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.

Romanian world No.1 Halep continued her fine early season vein of form as she completed a commanding 6-1, 6-4 victory over compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu in exactly one hour and 30 minutes.

The 26-year-old Halep was strong out of the gates, winning 76% percent of her service points and not facing a single break point in a one-sided opening set.

The pair, who play in tomorrow’s doubles finals as partners, exchanged breaks in the third and fourth games of the second set before Halep took four points on the trot against serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. World No. 43 Begu had two break opportunities in the next game to level matters but Halep saved both to stay in control.

In the end, Halep, who has not lost to a countrywoman in over seven years nor lost to Begu on Tour, completed her win on serve with a powerful backhand crosscourt drive on her second match point in the tenth game of the set.

"It was a tough match, I know that she's a very strong player and in the second set, you could see that she was improving her game. I'm really proud with my victory today. It was a tough one. I'm really happy to play the final again here. I always enjoy playing here and it's going to be a big challenge tomorrow,” said Halep, who picked up the singles title here in 2015 and has 15 career titles.

January 5, 2018

January 4, 2018

Halep, Begu and Siniakova also set to feature in doubles semifinals tomorrow

Reigning world No.1 Simona Halep continued her fine start to the season in the Shenzhen Open 2018 with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over 19-year-old Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in just under an hour on the Centre Court of the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.

Imperious on serve with a first serve percentage of 76%, the 26-year-old Romanian only faced (and lost) a single break point during the match while converting five out of the nine break chances she had.

“I was really happy with the way I played today. I felt that I was very solid and very strong on my legs. I knew what to expect from her and I played well enough to win in two sets,” said the 2015 Shenzhen Open champ, who has 15 career titles to date.

Russian former world No.1 Sharapova did not let her fans down as she put in a passionate performance on Centre Court to defeat a determined Zarina Diyas 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 31 minutes to make her third WTA Tour semifinal since her return to action last April.

January 3, 2018

January 2, 2018

Top Seed Halep, fourth seed Begu and defending champ Siniakova in second round action tomorrow

On a day which saw second and third seeds Jelena Ostapenko and Zhang Shuai crash out, it was Maria Sharapova who stole the show here at the Shenzhen Open with a thrilling and hard fought second round victory over two-time finalist Alison Riske.

The 30-year-old former world No.1 overturned a one set deficit to defeat her American opponent 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and 24 minutes and record her ninth win in eleven matches.

Sharapova could not recover from an early break in the first set but when her serve was broken in the third game of the second set, she responded immediately with breaks in the fourth and eighth games to force a decider. She eventually took the third set in some style, hitting three aces and converting six out of nine break opportunities.

“I thought it was a really good test and my opponent played really well. My unforced errors in the beginning of the first set maybe gave her some confidence as well. I’m really happy with the way I came through and came back. With the little time left to prepare for the Australian Open, these are the types of matches that I want to get through to set up a chance to improve,” said the five-time Grand Slam champion.

January 1, 2018

World No.7 and second seed Ostapenko set for Shenzhen debut tomorrow

It was a great start to the new year for Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova and Zhang Shuai as the second day of main draw action in the Shenzhen Open continued to showcase powerful opening performances from its top players here at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.

Top seed Simona Halep took just 69 minutes to wrap up her 6-4, 6-1 first round victory over American Nicole Gibbs. After a sluggish start from both players, with service breaks being exchanged in the third and sixth games, it was the world No.1 Romanian who found her rhythm to dominate the remainder of the tie.

“I was a little bit nervous in the beginning but I think I played well. I started the New Year with a victory, which means a lot. It gives me a happy start so I’m looking forward to the year. I’m sure it’s not going to be easy but I’m ready to face any challenge,” said the 26-year-old.

Halep faces Duan Ying-Ying in the next round, having defeated her on the grass courts of Eastbourne in June last year.

Five-time Grand Slam champ Maria Sharapova enjoyed a strong debut here in Shenzhen, hitting 3 aces and 18 winners as she defeated Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 6-0 in 80 minutes on a Centre Court packed to capacity.

December 31, 2017

Top seed Halep, third seed Zhang and former world No.1 Sharapova feature on Centre Court tomorrow

The Shenzhen Open main draw got off to a rousing start today with fans being treated to a series of fine performances from marquee players on the Centre Court of the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.

Romanian fourth seed Irina-Camelia Begu kicked things off with a strong 6-1, 6-2 win over Chinese wild card Liu Fangzhou in 70 minutes. The world No.43 held her nerve when it counted, saving nine of the ten break points she faced and converting all six break opportunities she created.

The Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova also began her Shenzhen Open title defense in some style as she romped to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. The world No.47 sixth seed played aggressively from the get-go and did not face a single break point throughout the 58-minute encounter.

“It’s the first match and so many people came to watch so I really enjoyed it. She’s a great player but I was trying to play aggressive and it went my way. I worked a lot during the pre-season and I think I did a great job (preparing) and I hope it will show in my game,” said the 21-year-old.

December 31, 2017

December 30, 2017

Fourth, fifth and sixth seeded singles will take to court as main draw action begins tomorrow

The best in women’s tennis is back as the season opening Shenzhen Open officially got underway today with first round qualifying matches being contested and the main draw ceremony offering favourable draws for top seeds here at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.

For the first time in its six year history, the USD$750,000 International Series event will feature a reigning world No.1 as 2015 singles champion Simona Halep returns for her third appearance here in Shenzhen.

The 26-year-old Romanian, who reached the pinnacle in women’s tennis in October after her 27th career final at the China Open, drew American Nicole Gibbs in the first round.

Also in the top half of the draw with Halep is fellow Romanian and fourth seed Irina-Camelia Begu. Back in Shenzhen for the third time, the world No.43 will commence her campaign this year against Chinese wild card Liu Fangzhou.

Latvian world No.7 and 2017 Roland Garros surprise champion Jelena Ostapenko is the second seed in the singles draw and will make her Shenzhen Open debut against the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Pliskova, who made the quarterfinals here last year.

December 29, 2017

December 28, 2017

Former world no.1 tennis icon Maria Sharapova and 16-year-old Chinese sensation Wang Xinyu got themselves ready for a roaring start to the new season with a visit to the Longgang Dragon Square here in Shenzhen. ‘Long Cheng Guang Chang’, as it’s known locally, is a famous landmark square in the heart of the Longgang district of Shenzhen city and features a towering statue of a bronze dragon as its centerpiece.

Sharapova made her long-awaited return to tour this April and has steadily climbed up the rankings since, culminating with her first title in two years coming at Tianjin in October.

“Last year’s title in Tianjin was quite meaningful after not having a title for a couple of years. I felt like I’ve built quite a good base at the end of last season and now to start the year in a new place is always exciting. We travel around the world often to the same places and see the same people, so to see a new set of fans here in Shenzhen and to experience a new environment and stadium - it’s always invigorating to start a year that way,” said the 30-year-old Russian, who will be making her Shenzhen Open debut next week.

Meanwhile, Wang is set to be the youngest female player in the main draw of next month's Australian Open. The plucky lass defeated top seed Misaki Doi in the semi-final and Abigail Tere-Apisah in the final of the Australian Open Asia-Pacific wildcard playoff early this month to book her spot in Melbourne.

December 27, 2017

December 4, 2017

The full player entry list for the 2018 Shenzhen Open was released today features an exciting line-up of players that includes players from 16 different nations and comprises of World No.1s and Grand Slam Champions.

World No.1 and 2015 Shenzhen Open champion Simona Halep leads the field and is followed by reigning French Open winner and world No.7 Jelena Ostapenko. Maria Sharapova continues her return to the sport; a winner of five majors, she like Ostapenko will be making their first visits to the Shenzhen Open.

China will be represented by three players with direct acceptance into the main draw – Zhang Shuai ranked 36, Wang Qiang ranked 45 and the youngest Chinese player in the top 50, and Duan Ying Ying.

Tournament Director Nick Freyer said: “We are all really excited about the 2018 Shenzhen Open. It is a very strong line up of players that sees representatives from three continents – Asia, Europe and North America. We have two players in the top ten and six in the top 50 and our cut-off is 105. We are delighted to welcome back many familiar faces like our national players, players who have won the title and who have been finalists.”

November 24, 2017

The Shenzhen Open will celebrate its sixth birthday and the party to be laid out at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Center, which has been the tournament’s home from the start, promises to be the best yet, as some of the most exciting women in world tennis gather for the US$750,000 International Series WTA tournament to be played December 30, 2017 to January 6, 2018.

Shenzhen Municipal Government, major sponsors Gemdale and Kaisa and IMG today announced that world No.1 Simona Halep will lead the charge. Joining her will be the phenomenal Maria Sharapova as well as the reigning French Open champion and breakout star in women’s tennis for 2017, Jelena Ostapenko. And joining this illustrious trio of stars will be China’s youngest player in the top 50, Wang Qiang.

“We are very excited to be welcoming these great players to the Shenzhen Open,” Tournament Director Nick Freyer said. “Simona, the world #1, has been a regular visitor to the event and has always enjoyed her time here having won the title in 2015. We are thrilled to welcome Maria and Jelena for the first time and Wang Qiang will join us for the sixth time having reached the quarters for the last two years.

“Soon we will be announcing our full field but to be able to reveal our first four marquee players of this pedigree is a great honour for all involved with the tournament - we are all looking forward to it. Tennis fans will be in for a treat as we kick off the 2018 WTA tennis season.”