WTA Major Tournament #9: Beijing, China

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit:chascow

The next major tournament on the Women’s Pro Tour is the China Open in Beijing. This year is the 10th straight year that this tournament has been held for the women. From 1997 to 1999 there was no event and the first 3 years it was played on the WTA Tour were 1994 to 1996.

In 2004 this event was moved from being held in Shanghai so, 2009 is the 6th year for Beijing. The China Open is the final Premier Mandatory event held in 2009. This year’s event is the 1st time the China Open has been such a prestigious level on the WTA Tour after being upgraded after last year’s event.

4.5 million US dollars is up for grabs as compared to last year’s 600,000. The event is held from Friday October 2 through to the final on Sunday October 11. The are 32 spots in the Qualifying event and the 1st round of Qualifying is played on October 2 and the 2nd round is played on October 3.

Last year Jelena Jankovic won the China Open by defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final 6-3 6-2. Jankovic outlasted Vera Zvonareva in 2 hour and 22 minute semi final 6-4 2-6 6-4 and beat Daniela Hantuchova 7-5 6-1 in the quarter finals. Kuznetsova beat Zheng Jie in the 2008 semi-finals in 2 close sets 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 and accounted for Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in the quarter finals 6-2 6-4.

Normally the top 8 seeds have a BYE in the 1st round however, in the tournament before the China Open, the Toray Pan Pacific Open, Agnieszka Radwanska, Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Jelena Jankovic all made the semi-finals. Only these 4 women were allocated BYE’s since they were still battling it out in Tokyo.

For the China Open there are 16 seeded players, 47 Direct Acceptances, 5 Wild Cards awarded and 8 spots in the draw were allocated to Qualifiers. This means it has a 60-player draw as opposed to the usual 56-player draw for this event category.

The wild cards were awarded to 3 Chinese players: Zhang Shuai, Han Xinyun, Lu Jingiing as well as 2 others going to 2009 US Open semi finalist Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium and Russian Maria Kirilenko.

Pictured above is Zheng Jie who made the semi-finals last year with a great run that stole the show and added great excitement to the event as an unseeded local player.

This year there will be a number of Chinese women vying to make it their turn to steal the show. China performed extremely well when they hosted the 2008 Olympics. Given their pride in performing at home, combined with the huge support from their Chinese, the best national players will be poised to shine. These women will be thinking “If Zheng Jie can do it , then so can I!” 

The seeding and draw for the top 16 players, IF they all win through to the round of 16 are:

  • (1) Dinara Safina versus (14) Marion Bartoli
  • (10) Flavia Pennetta v. (7) Vera Zvonareva
  • (4) Elena Dementieva v. (16) Li Na
  • (12) Agnieszka Radwanska v. (5) Caroline Wozniacki

…which completes the head-to-head play-offs in the top half of the draw. In the bottom half of the draw, the players seeded to meet are:

  • (6) Svetlana Kuznetsova v. (11) Ana Ivanovic
  • (15) Samantha Stosur versus (3) Venus Williams
  • (8) Jelena Jankovic versus (9) Victoria Azarenka
  • (13) Nadia Petrova versus (2) Serena Williams

Stay tuned for more coverage of the China Open as we update you with results, who qualifies, what major upsets occur, how many WTA Ranking points and prize money is awarded for each round and which Chinese players steal the show in Beijing!

Today’s POST is dedicated to 2 players. Firstly, Jana Novotna who was born on this day in 1968. The Czech won 1 Grand Slam singles title in 1998 at the Wimbledon Championships. She first achieved her highest career ranking of No.2 on 7 July 1997. Secondly, to Thomas Muster who was also born on this day in 1967. Muster also won 1 Grand Slam singles title at the French Open in 1995. The Austrian first achieved his career high ranking of World No.1 on 12 February 1996.

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