The wildcard is result of a highly impressive campaign, which has seen Zhang fly up the rankings. This week, the 27-year-old upset Simona Halep and Samantha Stosur en route to the quarterfinals of the China Open, a result which guarantees she will break into the Top 30 in Monday's new rankings
Zhang, who contemplated walking away from tennis 12 months ago, began the season ranked No.133. However, at the Australian Open she ended her long-running Grand Slam hoodoo by making it through qualifying and into the quarterfinals.
The Chinese player's sole WTA singles title came three years ago in Guangzhou, but she has threatened to add to her collection in recent weeks, reaching the semifinals in Seoul and Tokyo, following an encouraging third-round run at the US Open.
"We are delighted to announce Zhang Shuai as our singles wildcard at this year's Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai," Peter Johnston, the Tournament Director of Huajin Security WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai 2016, said. "She has been in fantastic form this year and throughout her career has been a great ambassador for women's tennis in China. I am sure the fans in Zhuhai are going to welcome her here to see her compete against the best of the best on the WTA Tour."
Zhang was equally excited about the opportunity: "It's an honor to be awarded the wildcard for 2016 Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, especially as a Chinese player. I'm very happy to get to play in my homeland in front of all Chinese fans. I heard that last's first edition of WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai was a great success. I can't wait to play 2016 WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai and meet the fans from Zhuhai there!"