ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA - The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) announced today that Elise Mertens, Alison Riske and Donna Vekic have qualified for the fifth annual Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, set to take place October 22-27 for a total prize money of over $2.4 million.
Mertens, Riske and Vekic will join Aryna Sabalenka, Sofia Kenin, Madison Keys and Petra Martic, who secured their place in Zhuhai last week. The prestigious event features both singles and doubles, and will be staged in the southern Chinese coastal city of Zhuhai at the custom designed and state-of-the-art Zhuhai Hengqin International Tennis Centre.
Belgian No.1 Mertens will return to Zhuhai for her second time, having also qualified last year. She has earned her place at the year-end event following a standout season, defeating three Top 10 players en route to claim the biggest title of her career at the Qatar Total Open (Doha), as well as advanced to the quarterfinals at the US Open.
Riske has enjoyed her best season to date, highlighted by reaching her career first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon and advancing to the biggest final of her career at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, helping her make her Top 20 debut. Earlier this season, the American lifted her second career title at the Libéma Open (‘s-Hertogenbosch), saving five match points to defeat World No.4 Kiki Bertens in the championship match.
Vekic will make her tournament debut in Zhuhai following two finals this season, at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and the Nature Valley Open (Nottingham). In addition, the Croatian reached her career first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open and earned herself a career-high ranking of World No.21 in September.
Following the withdrawals from Johanna Konta (knee injury), Angelique Kerber (leg injury) and Marketa Vondrousova (left wrist injury), four qualifying spots remain up for grabs in Zhuhai along with one wildcard.
The Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai’s 12-player singles field includes 10 of the WTA's Top 20 players, in addition to one wildcard. The players will compete in four round robin groups of three, with the winners of each group advancing to the semifinals. The six doubles teams will be split into two round robin groups, with the winner of each advancing to the final.