ZHUHAI, China - The 2016 Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai announced its first three qualifiers today: two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 2015 US Open finalist Roberta Vinci and rising Ukrainian star Elina Svitolina.
Peter Johnston, Tournament Director of the WTA Elite Trophy, sent his congratulations to the three qualifiers: "Our congratulations to Petra, Roberta and Elina on being the first confirmed qualifiers for this year's WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai. These women are some of the WTA's biggest stars and great ambassadors of the women's game. Our fans are going to love watching them play live in Zhuhai."
Winning the Wimbledon title in both 2011 and 2014, Petra Kvitova has been ranked amongst the WTA's top players for a number of years. She has had a good record over the years in China, winning the singles title at the Wuhan Open twice in her career.
Kvitova had a tough start to 2016, but she has rediscovered her form recently, winning the Olympic bronze medal at Rio, before capturing the title in Wuhan and reaching the quarterfinal at the China Open in Beijing.
"I'm really looking forward to making my debut in Zhuhai this year," said the 26-year-old Czech. "It's always exciting to play a new tournament for the first time and I just had a great two weeks of tennis in China so I know how much support we will get over there! I'm looking forward to some competitive matches and have heard lots of positive things about the tournament and overall experience."
Svitolina qualified for Zhuhai last year and reached the semifinal before losing to Karolina Pliskova. The Ukrainian achieved her career-best ranking of No.14 in March this year. Besides winning the championship at Kuala Lumpur and reaching the final at New Heaven, she stunned the world by becoming the first player to defeat a reigning World No.1 twice this year, beating Serena Williams in Rio and new World No.1 Angelique Kerber in Beijing.
Roberta Vinci also played in Zhuhai last year and reached the semifinal. The Italian is famous among fans because of her classical tennis style and her love of the game which is always on display when she plays. Last year, she stunned Serena Williams in the semi-final of US Open while the reigning No.1 was seeking to collect her fourth Grand Slam of the season. As the oldest player breaking into the Top 10 for the first time, Vinci is still maintaining her place in the Top 20 as a 33-year-old player.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 2011 US Open winner Samantha Stosur and former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki are still in contention for places in Zhuhai, while Zhang Shuai has been awarded a wildcard into the star-studded field.
The year's final tournament will take place in the coastal city of Zhuhai in southern China and will run from November 1 to 6. Like last year, the singles draw will feature 11 of the top ranked players and one wildcard, with the winner collecting 700 ranking points.
Here's the latest leaderboard update for the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai as of October 17, 2016: