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Svitolina Seeks Baku Title Defense

Sorana Cirstea and Elina Svitolina are the favorites in Baku, while Peng Shuai and Zheng Jie lead the field at the WTA 125K Series event in Nanchang.

Published July 20, 2014 12:12

Svitolina Seeks Baku Title Defense
Elina Svitolina

Elina Svitolina had her breakthrough tournament at the Baku Cup in 2013, becoming the first teenager to capture a WTA title in 17 months, and she's back to defend her title as the No.2 seed this year.

Watch live action from Baku this week on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

The now 19-year-old Ukrainian has continued to look the part of a WTA Rising Star since her maiden WTA title, with her 2014 highlights including her first four Top 20 wins and a semifinal showing in Nürnberg, after which she rose to a career-high No.33.

There is one more former Baku champion also in this year's field, fellow WTA Rising Star and No.5 seed Bojana Jovanovski. The first of the Serb's two WTA titles came here in 2012.

The on-paper favorite is former World No.21 Sorana Cirstea, who is looking to go beyond a WTA quarterfinal for the first time all year. 

Other seeds are No.3 seed Magdalena Rybarikova, No.4 seed Kurumi Nara, No.6 seed Yvonne Meusburger, No.7 seed and British No.1 Heather Watson and No.8 seed Jana Cepelova. Eighteen-year-old WTA Rising Star Donna Vekic, the second-youngest player in the Top 100, is also in the field.

Also being played this week is the first WTA 125K Series event of 2014 and the first of four in the Asia-Pacific region, the Zhonghong Jiangxi International Women's Open in Nanchang, China.

The first international sporting event held in Jiangxi Province, Nanchang's field is led by Chinese stars Peng Shuai and Zheng Jie.

Former World No.14 Peng is the second-highest ranked Chinese player ever after World No.2 Li Na. Among Zheng's feats are becoming the first Chinese Grand Slam semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2008, becoming the second Chinese to crack the Top 20 in 2009 and winning four WTA titles.

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