Shenzhen Open: Bencic, Sabalenka headline event
Aryna Sabalenka will need to defeat the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Belinda Bencic and Elise Mertens if she were to defend her title | Photo: Zhizhao Wu

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka is back at the Shenzhen Open once again, hoping to replicate her success and start her season on a high note. She will be joined by top-10 player Belinda Bencic, who will be making her debut at the tournament. 

Elise Mertens, currently ranked 17th in the world, will start her season in Shenzhen for the first time. In addition to playing singles, she will be competing for the doubles title with long-term partner Sabalenka as well. Garbine Muguruza is another big name who will be making her first appearance in Shenzhen, having preferred this International-level tournament over other events.

The home crowd will be delighted to know that almost all the Chinese top players have signed up for the tournament, with 29th-ranked Wang Qiang leading the pack of local competitors, consisting of Zhang Shuai, Zheng Saisai, Wang Yafan, Zhu Lin, and Peng Shuai. They will look to thrive off the home support, aiming to become the first Chinese to win this tournament since Li Na.

Wang Qiang will be hoping to break the duck in Shenzhen, having suffered early exits in the past couple of years | Photo: Zhe Ji
Wang Qiang will be hoping to break the duck in Shenzhen, having suffered early exits in the past couple of years | Photo: Zhe Ji

Former champion Katerina Siniakova is back in the running for the title, although she will be unseeded alongside the likes of Magda Linette, Kristyna Pliskova and Anna Blinkova. Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Lesia Tsurenko both excelled in Brisbane previously, with the Belarusian making the final in 2018 and Tsurenko making the final last year, but with their rankings unable to meet the cut-off, they decided to start their season in Shenzhen.

Elena Rybakina and Ekaterina Alexandrova, two big hitters, will hope to leave an impact in Shenzhen as they look destined for bigger things in 2020. Ons Jabeur, the highest-ranked Arab in the world, will continue her pursuit for a career breakthrough while other direct entries include Sorana Cirstea, Zarina Diyas, Shelby Rogers, Misaki Doi and Sara Sorribes Tormo.

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