January 5, 2019
TOP SEED SABALENKA RALLIES AGAINST RISKE TO LIFT THIRD CAREER TITLE IN SHENZHEN

Doubles No.2 seeds Peng and Yang pick up doubles trophy in their first tournament as partners


World No.13 Aryna Sabalenka’s meteoric rise to the top of women’s tennis looks set to continue this season as the hard-hitting Belarusian overcame a slow start to defeat American Alison Riske 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes to lift her third WTA Tour career title on the hard courts of the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre this afternoon.

The 28-year-old Riske, playing in her third Shenzhen Open final in four years, began the match impressively, hitting decisive and accurate winners that frustrated her 20-year-old opponent, and converted the second of two break points in the third game to take a one set lead.

The 5-foot-11 Sabalenka, playing in her sixth career final and third in China, grew with confidence as the match progressed and converted her first break point in the fourth game of the second set to take a 3-1 lead.

Riske fought hard to get back in the set, saving four break points in the sixth game and two set points in the eighth before breaking her 20-year-old opponent with four points on the trot in the ninth game and holding serve to tie the match at 5-5.

However, in the tiebreak, the American lost focus and gifted her opponent a number of unforced errors to set up a third set for the title.

January 5, 2019

January 4, 2019
TOP SEED SABALENKA TO MEET LOCAL STAR WANG, RISKE TO FACE ZVONAREVA IN SEMIFINAL

Early 10am start for tomorrow’s semifinals as same day finals scheduled for play after 2pm


Twenty-year-old Belarusian rising star Aryna Sabalenka has made her first semifinal of the new season after fifth seed Maria Sharapova retired from their quarterfinal duel midway through the second set, with the score standing at 6-1, 4-2 after one hour and 20 minutes on Centre Court.

Former world No.1 Sharapova struggled to find any rhythm against an aggressive and determined world No.13 Sabalenka in the first set, as she racked up the unforced errors with long forehands and net shots.

After taking a medical timeout at the end of the first set, the Russian began to play more aggressively and got her first break of the match in the fourth game of the second set to cancel out Sabalenka’s break in the third and tie the set at 2-2, giving her vociferous fans in the stadium some hope.

However, it was becoming clear that Sharapova’s mobility was not at 100% and after Sabalenka took the next two games, the 31-year-old decided to pull out of the match, later citing a left thigh injury.

“I’m so sorry for Sharapova, hopefully she will get better soon. I think we played great tennis today. I’m happy (with my performances so far). After pre-season, nobody knows how it will go, so I’m happy with the start of this season,” said the Belarus No.1.

January 3, 2019
MATCHES SUSPENDED DUE TO INCESSANT INTERMITTENT RAIN IN SHENZHEN

Quarterfinal matches postponed until tomorrow, beginning with Sabalenka v Sharapova at 1pm


It was a frustrating day at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre as unfavourable weather conditions resulted in the suspension of two singles quarterfinal matches and the postponement of all other matches slated for today.

The all-Russian clash between qualifier Veronika Kudermetova and wild card Vera Zvonareva started at 2.45pm after a three hour and forty minute delay, but was interrupted several times by rain before the first set finished 6-4 in favour of the world No.133 Kudermetova after 70 minutes of play.

The players were on standby throughout the day until 6pm, when matches were officially called off.

The remainder of the encounter will be contested in tomorrow’s second match slated for Centre Court, following the highly anticipated quarterfinal clash between top seed Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sharapova, which is scheduled to commence tomorrow at 1pm.

American Alison Riske and Sorana Cirstea took to Court 1 at 3.30pm but could not only complete two games, both won by the Romanian, in 35 minutes of play. Riske and Cirstea will resume their battle in tomorrow’s second match slated for Court 1.

January 2, 2019
TOP SEED SABALENKA AND FIFTH SEED SHARAPOVA RECORD SECOND ROUND VICTORIES TO SET UP QUARTERFINAL CLASH

Two-time finalist Riske, wild card Zvonareva and qualifiers Niculescu and Kudermetova also in quarterfinal action tomorrow


Shenzhen Open No.1 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus has marched into the quarterfinals of the Shenzhen Open for the second year running with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova in 74 minutes on Centre Court.

The world No. 13 had her serve broken early in the third game of the match but came back strongly to break her opponent in the fourth and eight games to take a one set lead. The 182cm Belarusian, who reached a career high of No.11 in October last year after capturing the second title of her career and of the year at Wuhan, converted three more breaks in the second set to move into the final eight.

She will meet fifth seed Maria Sharapova, to whom she lost in the Tianjin ’17 finals in their only previous encounter on tour.

“I’m so happy with this victory and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match. It should be an interesting match (against Sharapova). I lost to her in Tianjin and I was leading there in both sets. I’m going to think about tomorrow’s match and hopefully I will do better than last time,” said the 20-year-old.


January 1, 2019
NICULESCU TAMES FOURTH SEED OSTAPENKO AS RISKE AND ZVONAREVA RECORD STRONG THREE SET SECOND ROUND VICTORIES

Top seed Sabalenka and fifth seed Sharapova in second round action tomorrow


Romania’s Monica Niculescu recorded the biggest win of her seven appearances here in the Shenzhen Open as she steamrolled past the fourth seeded world No. 22 Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 6-2 in just 52 minutes on Centre Court.

The 31-year-old world No.99, who came through the qualifying round, only lost her serve once at the start of the second set, while converting six of eight break chances against her higher ranked Latvian opponent, who notched eight double faults and won just 26% of her 35 service points.

“I think my two matches in the qualifying rounds and coming here early to prepare gave me the edge. Actually I didn’t spend Christmas at home, I spent it on the plane but that suits me well because I came here and I thought I played really well on Centre Court. I got to have some practices before and I think that’s why my game was very solid today,” said the Romanian of her first round victory.

American Alison Riske is set to make her third quarterfinal appearance in four visits to Shenzhen after she rallied from a set down to defeat Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 47 minutes.


January 1, 2019

December 31, 2018
TOP SEED SABALENKA AND FIFTH SEED SHARAPOVA NOTCH WINS AS UNSEEDED PLAYERS STEAL THE SHOW ON MONDAY

Fourth seed Ostapenko to start campaign tomorrow; Singles second round also set to commence


Top seed Aryna Sabalenka and No.5 seed Maria Sharapova got their new seasons off to a winning start here at the Shenzhen Open today, as three of the top seven seeds succumbed to surprise first round defeats.

Fresh off a momentous season that saw her climb more than 60 spots in the rankings and win her first two career titles at New Haven and Wuhan, world No.13 Sabalenka overcame a one set deficit to defeat German Tatjana Maria 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in one hour and 51 minutes.

The hard-hitting 20-year-old Belarusian, who also made the finals at Eastbourne and Lugano last year, saved five of nine break points and converted seven out of eleven to ensure she started the new season on a victorious note.

Former world No.1 Sharapova, playing in front of a capacity Centre Court crowd that braved chilly conditions of ten degrees Celsius to catch her in action, put on a strong showing in her 6-2, 7-6(3) victory over Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in one hour and 41 minutes.

Returning to action at Shenzhen after ending her 2018 season in September to address a shoulder injury, the 31-year-old got off to a shaky start when she lost her first service game to go 0-2 down. However, the tournament fifth seed and current world No. 29 rallied by winning the next six games on the trot to take the first set.

December 30, 2018
EIGHTH SEED PAVLYUCHENKOVA CRUISES INTO SECOND ROUND AS SIXTH SEED ZHENG BOWS OUT TO PARMENTIER

Top seeds Sabalenka, Garcia, Wang and Sharapova set to commence campaigns tomorrow


It was a dream beginning to a new season for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as the No.8 seed got off to a sizzling start in her debut in at the Shenzhen Open. The Russian needed just 53 minutes to defeat Ana Bogdan 6-0, 6-1 and record her first win of the 2019 season.

"I couldn't be more happy with how I started this season," the 27-year-old said after the match. "It's always tough to start the season after a long break when we haven't played matches for a long time. Even though it was a short match, it was not an easy match and there were a lot of good points. I’m quite satisfied but of course there’s still a lot to work on to keep progressing.”

Meanwhile, in the day’s final Centre Court match, Chinese No.6 seed Zheng Saisai could not sustain her fight back against an in-form Pauline Parmentier.

The Frenchwoman, who picked up two titles last season at Istanbul and Quebec City, completed a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over her world No.39 opponent in two hours and seven minutes to start the new season on a winning note.

December 30, 2018

December 29, 2018
FIFTH SEED SHARAPOVA DRAWS BACSINSZKY IN FIRST ROUND

Main draw commences tomorrow with sixth seed Zheng and eighth seed Pavlyuchenkova in action


The singles main draw ceremony was held this afternoon at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre, with the pick of the first round matches seeing former World No.1 Maria Sharapova of Russia taking on former world No.9 Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland.

Both players are returning to action following injury layoffs - 31-year-old Sharapova is playing her first competitive match since September, having ended her 2018 season prematurely after sustaining a shoulder injury, while 29-year-old Bacsinszky is in the midst of a comeback following surgery on her right hand in 2017 and a right calf injury sustained in May.

The two players have met on tour three times in the last four years, with the Russian taking wins on grass (Wimbledon ’14) and clay (Madrid Masters ’15) but the Swiss emerging victorious on the hard courts of Wuhan in 2014.

Top seed world No.13 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, currently the youngest player in the Top 20 (she turned 20-years-old in May), will take on German Maria Tatjana for the third time on tour, having won both their previous hard court encounters (Tashkent ’17 and Fed Cup ’18).

December 28, 2018
SHENZHEN OPEN SET TO COMMENCE WITH QUALIFYING ROUNDS

Duan and Garcia indulge in traditional pastry concoction at Crowne Plaza Shenzhen Longgang City Centre


The first round qualifying matches of the Shenzhen Open 2019 are set to get underway tomorrow over three courts at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre.

The strong qualifying field, with a cutoff ranking of No.144, features four players each from Russia and China, two from Romania and one each from France, Ukraine, Japan, Spain, Serbia and Montenegro.

Anna Blinkova, Monica Niculescu, Fiona Ferro and Anhelina Kalinina are the top four seeded players in the qualifying draw, while 23-year-old Yang Zhaoxuan is the lone wild card in the qualifiers.

Tomorrow’s matches will commence from 11am, with sixth seeded Chinese Zhu Lin taking on Spaniard Georgina Garcia Perez in the tournament’s opening match on Centre Court.

The second match on Centre Court will feature another local player, Liu Fangzhou, going up against Ukraine’s Kalinina.

The other six matches will be played on Court 1 and Court 2.

December 27, 2018
RUSSIAN ICON SHARAPOVA VISITS HISTORIC NEW RUSSIA-CHINA JOINT VENTURE UNIVERSITY IN SHENZHEN

Having just arrived in Shenzhen this morning, five-time grand slam champ Maria Sharapova made her first media appearance of the season in front of the Shenzhen MSU-BIT University, located just outside the Shenzhen Longgang Tennis Centre in the Longgang district of Shenzhen, where she posed for pictures with students and staff members.

Co-founded by the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government, the Beijing Institute of Technology and Lomonosov Moscow State University, Shenzhen MSU-BIT University (SMBU) is a non-profitable educational institution and one of the important projects representing the local government’s efforts to introduce quality educational resources into the city.

The newly built university building, scheduled to officially open its doors in 2019, is inspired by the famous façade of the Moscow State University high-riser in Moscow, with elements of Chinese architecture added to it.

“As I played here for the first time last year, I saw this huge building just behind the stadium going up and wondered what it was because I noticed the star and connected it back to the university in Moscow. It turned out to be this incredible joint venture university and I am very proud to be here with the students today. I haven’t been inside but from this perspective, it looks very beautiful and feels like an iconic building. What it represents inside is most important, which is the literature, the culture and the education that so many students around the world strive for,” said the 31-year-old Sharapova, who made the last four in her inaugural appearance at Shenzhen last year.

December 27, 2018

December 26, 2018
DOUBLES FIELD, FURTHER WILD CARDS ANNOUNCED FOR 2019 SHENZHEN OPEN

Players from China feature strongly in the doubles field for the $US750,000 2019 Shenzhen Open with two of the top four seeded tandems being national players. The tournament will be played at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre from 29 December 2018 to 5 January 2019.

Peng Shuai, one of the most recognisable names in Chinese tennis and the 2017 Shenzhen Open doubles champion, will team up with Yang Zhaoxuan to form the tournament’s second seeds. Peng, a two-time doubles major winner at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, as well as winner of the WTA Finals, reached the doubles final in Dubai and the doubles semis of the Australian Open in 2018, while Yang claimed her third career doubles title in Dubai and reached the French Open doubles semis in 2018. Yang is also no stranger to winning in the city of Shenzhen, having picked up the ITF Shenzhen 2 doubles title last month.

The fourth seeds will be Zhang Shuai and Wang Yafan, who rank 33 and 92 respectively. Zhang claimed three titles in 2018 – Hong Kong, Hiroshima and Istanbul as well as making the US Opens semis, while Wang picked up the Chinese Taipei title.

“China’s players are very well represented in the doubles draw. Besides having two of the top four seeds, we also have Duan Yingying and Zheng Saisai featuring prominently in the doubles and fans will no doubt get quite a thrill to see so many of their national players at the forefront,” Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho said.


December 3, 2018
2019 SHENZHEN OPEN ANNOUNCES PLAYER FIELD
CHINA LEADS THE WAY WITH MOST PLAYERS


The US$750,000 2019 Shenzhen Open has already announced some of its early marquee players who will take to the courts of the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Centre from 29 December 2018 to 5 January 2019. They are five-time major winner and tennis superstar Maria Sharapova, 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and French star Caroline Garcia.

Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho is now very pleased to announce the tournament’s entire field, and players from China are among those that dominate the line-up. For only the second time in the tournament’s history and the first since 2014, four players from China are directly into the main draw based on the strength of their rankings.

Leading the group is 26 year-old Wang Qiang who is at a career high ranking of No. 20. The Tianjin native, who is coached by Australian great Peter McNamara, enjoyed a standout season in 2018 that saw her win two titles at Guangzhou and Nanchang. She was also a finalist in the nearby cities of Zhuhai and Hong Kong. In Zhuhai, she had wins over Madison Keys and Garbine Muguruza while in Hong Kong, she defeated Elina Svitolina and Muguruza.

Wang Qiang has played at a consistently high level this year. She was also a semi-finalist in Beijing, Wuhan and Hiroshima, where she upsetting Ostapenko, Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka. She was also a quarterfinalist in Strasbourg.


November 25, 2018
SHENZHEN OPEN TO CELEBRATE ITS 7TH YEAR
SUPERSTARS HEADLINE THE FIELD


It has been one of the curtain raisers to each new season on the WTA Tour for the last six years and the $US750,000 Shenzhen Open will once again hold that honour as it plays host to some of the most recognisable names in women’s tennis at the start of the new year.

The Shenzhen Open will be staged at the now familiar Shenzhen Longgang Sports Center from 29 December 2018 to 5 January 2019, and will feature a new Tournament Director, Brazilian Luiz Carvalho, who is extremely excited to be spearheading the championship for the first time.

“China is an incredibly fascinating place and the variety of settings continues to fascinate all who come in contact with the country. Women’s tennis has an incredible following in China and we are proud to be the nation’s first tournament each year,” said Carvalho

The Organizing Committee of Shenzhen Open today announced that one of the most recognisable names in all sport, Maria Sharapova, along with major title winner Jelena Ostapenko, will be leading the field. They will be joined by French star Caroline Garcia as well as exciting Chinese junior Grand Slam champs Wang Xinyu and Wang Xiyu.