BERLIN, Germany - The first edition of the bett1 Open in June will be graced by two surging young Americans, Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and teenage phenomenon Coco Gauff, the tournament announced today.
The inaugural Premier grass-court event will be held at the Rot-Weiss Tennis Club in the west of the city between June 13-21 this year, and marks the return of the WTA Tour to the German capital after a 12-year absence. Kenin became the second-youngest active Grand Slam winner in Melbourne in January after stunning World No.1 Ashleigh Barty in the semifinals and two-time major champion Garbiñe Muguruza in the final, and the 21-year-old followed that up by cracking the Top 5 for the first time a fortnight ago.
Moreover, Kenin has also displayed her pedigree on grass: last June, she won her second career title in Mallorca, scoring wins over Elise Mertens, Anastasija Sevastova and Belinda Bencic - against whom she saved five championship points in a thrilling final - in the last three rounds.
Great to receive your greetings @CocoGauff and we are looking forward to see you playing in Berlin at #bett1open.— bett1open (@bett1open) March 4, 2020
You want to see her play too? Get your tickets here: https://t.co/7WO99DJH5g @WTA @Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/TXko6ZHN49
Another rising star who made her mark on grass last year is Coco Gauff, whose meteoric rise up the rankings and into worldwide stardom started with her run to the fourth round of Wimbledon as a qualifier ranked World No.313. The 15-year-old has since backed that up with a maiden title in Linz last October, this time as a lucky loser, and a second major fourth-round showing at the Australian Open - where she was one of only two players to take a set off Kenin that fortnight. Along the way, Gauff's famous scalps have included Naomi Osaka, Kiki Bertens and - twice - Venus Williams.
"For being still so young she already had a tremendous athletic development," said tournament director Barbara Rittner about Gauff in a press release. "Her potential is huge and I'm sure that she will become a world-class player. She is so talented that I am confident she might be able to bring in a new era in women's tennis. Watching her here in Berlin will give fans an idea of what I'm talking
The youngster herself is also already keen to compete: "I have heard a lot of cool things about the city and I'm very excited about what will await me there," said Gauff. "Being played just before Wimbledon, this tournament is very important to me."
Kenin and Gauff will join the top two German players, Angelique Kerber and Julia Goerges, whose participation in the field was announced in November.
The tournament also announced mattress company bett1 as its title sponsor and long-time partner today. "bett1 is already very present as a brand in sports," said Edwin Weindorfer, CEO of the e|motion group, the organizer and promoter of the event. "It makes us very happy and proud to create something big in and for Berlin with this very successful company. I am sure that this long-time partnership will benefit not only tennis in Germany but also internationally."
Adam Szpyt, managing director of bett1, said: "As an international company working out of Berlin it is a big incentive for bett1 to support the women's tennis tournament at the Rott-Weiss Tennis Club and to develop this unique event into a steady event for Berlin. We are proud to appear with our brand as main and title sponsor for the first time, thus facilitating and helping to shape a great event in Berlin."