TIANJIN, China - Maria Sharapova will return to the Tianjin Open in October to defend the crown she won last year.
"It was such a thrill to win the Tianjin Open last year. It meant a lot to me and I really enjoyed playing in front of the fans in Tianjin. I am excited to be returning to defend my title in 2018 and I can't wait to see everyone in Tianjin again," enthused the current World No.22.
The tournament was first held in 2014, and was won by American Alison Riske. Agnieszka Radwanska won the following year, with Peng Shuai lifting the crown in 2016.
This year will see plenty of celebrations for the tournament's fifth anniversary, with past and current players all invited to join in with the "High Fives" theme.
"In its short history, Tianjin Open has developed into Tianjin's largest annual sports event and become the focal point for the development of the Tianjin Health Industry Park in Jinghai," Tournament Director Stephen Duckitt said.
"Tennis fans in Tianjin have already witnessed incredible champions like Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwasnka and China's Peng Shuai in our first four years. We are excited to be celebrating our first major milestone in 2018 and the return of Maria coupled with the celebrations planned will help Tianjin Open to realise a new tennis dream for the city as we continue our aim to grow the event further."