World No.1 Simona Halep will lead the field at the Shenzhen Open, alongside reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova, and 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 No.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.”
The tournament celebrates its sixth anniversary in 2018, and will once again run at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Center from December 30 to January 6. It continues to be the richest International Series tournament on the WTA Tour. The 2018 singles champion will earn US$163,260 while the runner-up will collect US$81,251.
“The 2018 Shenzhen Open is shaping up to be the best women’s tournament to be staged in the city,” read a joint statement from the Chinese Tennis Association, the Shenzhen Municipal Government, the Longgang District Government, Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sport and Tourism, the Bureau of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Longgang District, Gemdale and Kaisa, the tournament’s leading sponsors.
“There is a great line-up of players and once again we will extend all our players the warmest welcome and finest hospitality.
“Last year we introduced new player enhancements, upgraded our social media interaction, our Kids’ Day continued to inspire our younger players and we highlighted various fan activities and in 2018 all those aspects will continue to help make the Shenzhen Open stand out. We look forward to seeing yet further growth and the tournament’s reputation increasing.”