China’s two-time Grand Slam victor Li Na and double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova officially opened the 15,000-seat stadium that will host the Wuhan Open. But the field remains open for all but the world’s top three, and competition at the Wuhan Open is certain to be intense with 18 of the top 20 players attending. Pennetta announced her retirement at the US Open final, and could now only have one tournament left before she exits tennis. Mention of the baby’s name prompted more excited applause from the crowd. “It just got worse and worse as I continued”, said Sharapova.
During her career, Li famously opted out of China’s state sports system and has previously been accused of a lack of patriotism during a sometimes rocky relationship with the domestic press.
Li now has plans to open her own tennis academy.
This year there were 10 professional women’s tournaments in China, and 23 in the Asia Pacific region, almost half of the WTA’s 55 annual events.
The Wuhan Open with a US$2.4 million purse, is the penultimate qualifying tournament before the WTA Finals in Singapore.
And it was another part of her body that let her down this time as she was forced to pull out of her match with Barbora Strycova in the third set due to pain in her wrist.
“Maybe it is because I had high expectations for the tournament”.
The five-time Grand Slam champion only accepted a wild card entry into the Wuhan Open last week, and told reporters Saturday in Wuhan it is a “consolation prize for not playing the US Open”. “There is not an easy match”, Sharapova said of the line up at Wuhan, where she is hoping to improve on her performance a year ago, which saw her crash out in the third round against Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky.
Sharapova has out of action with a right leg injury since reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon in July and is determined to get her season back on track with a strong showing in Wuhan.