This year’s Wuhan Open will feature at least five Chinese players in the singles main draw, the most in the tournament’s history. Three made it on the merits of their rankings while two were granted wild cards by the tournament. Here’s what you need to know about these hometown hopefuls:
China’s highest ranked player, Peng Shuai is world #24 in singles and #9 in doubles. In her distinguished career, she accomplished something that no other Chinese player, male or female, has – the world #1 ranking (in doubles, on February 17, 2014). That same year, Peng also made a fairytale run to the semifinals of the US Open, only the third ever Chinese woman to make it that deep into a Grand Slam in singles. On a sweltering New York day, Peng was locked in a close battle against #10 seed Caroline Wozniacki, when after nearly two hours of play, the Hunan native collapsed to the court due to heat illness. Having battled injuries her entire career, Peng has put together a steady 2017, including a WTA title in Nanchang, and final appearances in Taipei City and Zhengzhou. The Chinese #1 will have to start well as she drew 2-time Wuhan champion Petra Kvitova in the first round.
The Chinese #2 captured the adoration of the tennis world at the Australian Open 2016 when after 14 tries, she finally won a match at the Grand Slam level. Her emotional on-court interviews all the way to the quarterfinals were simply inspirational. The Tianjin native’s dream run included wins over Simona Halep and Madison Keys. At this year’s Wuhan Open, Zhang opens against Donna Vekic who she’s beaten in 2 of their 3 meetings.
The 25-year-old from Tianjin is currently ranked #57, having taken the WTA 125 Series title in Zhengzhou earlier this year, beating compatriot Peng Shuai in the final. She’s also reached the quarterfinals of four WTA tournaments in 2017, in Shenzhen, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, and last week in Tokyo, all on hard courts. Wang opens against recent US Open winner Sloane Stephens who she defeated at last year’s Australian Open in their only meeting.
One of two wild card recipients, 23-year-old Wang Yafan has enjoyed most of her success to date on the doubles court, having taken the prestigious title at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai and at the Malaysian Open, both in 2015 with partner Liang Chen. Wang opens against #52 Sorana Cirstea who she beat in three sets on clay in 2015 in their only previous meeting.
Currently ranked #97, Duan Ying-Ying hails from Tianjin. Her lone WTA title came on the hard courts at the Jiangxi Open in Nanchang 2016. The 28-year-old started 2017 strong on the Australian hard courts, making the quarterfinals in Sydney where she lost to Agnieska Radwanska and the third round of the Australian Open, falling to eventual finalist, Venus Williams. Duan opens against #16 seed Elena Vesnina in the first meeting between the two.