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WTA Shenzhen 2019 Player Field: Maria Sharapova begins her 2019 campaign in Shenzhen, with Jelena Ostapenko, Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka among the other big name attractions

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 30 Nov 2018
  • Maria Sharapova starts her 2019 WTA season in Shenzhen
  • Sharapova is joined by fellow former Roland Garros champion, Jelena Ostapenko, former top-ten star, Caroline Garcia and rising star, Aryna Sabalenka
  • The Shenzhen Open is live from Shenzhen from 31 December, 2018- 5 January, 2019.
Maria Sharapova. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova begins her 2019 season at the Shenzhen Open, where she is joined by former Grand Slam champion, Jelena Ostapenko, and top 20 stars, Aryna Sabalenka and Caroline Garcia.

Sharapova is playing in Shenzhen for the second straight year, following her debut appearance in 2018, when she lost to Katerina Siniakova in the semi-finals. Despite that decent beginning, the Russian had a disjointed season, as she played 11 tournaments all year, with injuries playing a big part in her overall struggles. A third-round exit at the Australian Open was followed three straight opening-round defeats, with a forearm injury forcing her out of the Miami Open somewhere in between. Sharapova played her best, and most consistent tennis of the year during the clay-court swing, reaching quarter finals in Madrid and Roland Garros, either side of a semi-final in Rome. The 31-year-old played just three more tournaments after that- Wimbledon, where she crashed to a first-round loss to Vitalia Diatchenko, Montreal and the US Open, exiting in the Round of 16 in both tournaments. She shut down her season after Flushing Meadows citing a shoulder problem.

Since returning from a 15-month doping ban in April 2017, the five-time Grand Slam champion has shown her best form in patches, winning the Tianjin title in 2017, but her progress has been hampered by several injury problems. That notwithstanding, she finished last season inside the top 30, and will definitely have her sights set on the top 10 in 2019, where she starts off in Shenzhen.

Sharapova is joined by fellow former Roland Garros champion, Jelena Ostapenko, in Shenzhen. Ostapenko will also be looking to get back into the top 10 after slipping out of the top 20 following a largely disappointing 2018.

The Latvian sensationally cracked the top 10 in 2017 after winning her first career titles at Roland Garros and Seoul, but she ended 2018 without any trophy. She wasn’t without her moments, as she was runner-up in Miami, and a semi-finalist at Wimbledon, but those were the only really bright spots in a largely inconsistent campaign. The world number 22 returns to Shenzhen for the second straight year, and will be seeking her first win at the event after losing to Kristyna Pliskova in her debut appearance last season.

Making her first appearance in Shenzhen is Caroline Garcia, who like Ostapenko, slid out of the top-ten last season after failing to replicate her efforts from the previous campaign. Garcia was not necessarily poor in 2018, with a title-run in Tianjin, and semi-finals in Stuttgart and Madrid being her most eye-catching results, but she fell short of the standards she had reached in the preceding season, when she claimed back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing, and made the semi-finals at the WTA finals in a spectacular finish to the year.

Speaking of the spectacular, Aryna Sabalenka’s 2018 certainly falls into that bracket, as she rocketed from No. 73 in the world at the start of the year to the verge of the top ten by the end of the season. The brilliant Belarusian won titles in New Haven and Wuhan, while she also made finals in Lugano and Eastbourne, and the semi-finals in Cincinnati. The world No. 13, who peaked at 11th on the WTA rankings in 2018, heads into Shenzhen as the highest ranked player in the field, and will attempt to better her quarter final run from last season.

Leading the home charge is Qiang Wang, who broke into the top 20 after an excellent 2018. Wang was ranked 91th as recently as May, but she rose very quickly in the second half of the year, winning titles in Nanchang and Guangzhou, making finals in Hong Kong and Zhuhai, and semi-finals in Hiroshima, Beijing and Wuhan. The world No. 20 is joined by top-40 compatriots, Saisai Zheng and Shuai Zhang, while hard-hitting Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, as always, carries a big threat. 

WTA Shenzhen Player Field (Top 8 Players confirmed so far)


WTA Shenzhen Player Field (Top 8 Players)

No.PlayerRankingNationality
1Aryna Sabalenka13Belarus
2Caroline Garcia19France
3Wang Qiang20China
4Jelena Ostapenko22Latvia
5Maria Sharapova29Russia
6Zheng Saisai39China
7Zhang Shuai40China
8Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova42Russia


WTA Shenzhen Tournament Information


WTA Shenzhen fast facts

WTA ShenzhenShenzhen Open
DatesDecember 31 to January 5
VenueShenzhen Longgang Tennis Center
LocationShenzhen, China
First Played2013
Draw Size32
SurfaceHard
CategoryWTA International
Prize Money$626,750
Reigning Singles ChampionSimona Halep
Reigning Doubles ChampionSimona Halep/Irina-Camelia Begu

WTA Shenzhen Open is live from Shenzhen from 31 December, 2018- 5 January, 2019.

*Geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify


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WTA Shenzhen 2019 Player Field: Maria Sharapova begins her 2019 campaign in Shenzhen, with Jelena Ostapenko, Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka among the other big name attractions

Maria Sharapova begins her 2019 campaign in Shenzhen, with Jelena Ostapenko, Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka among the other big name attractions. The Shenzhen Open is live from 31 December, 2018 to 5 January, 2019.

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