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Eight of WTA top 10 to compete in 2015 WTA Wuhan Open

Updated: 2015-08-20 09:21

Eight of WTA top 10 to compete in 2015 WTA Wuhan Open

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic hits a shot during her match against Kurumi Nara of Japan at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 2, 2015. [Photo/Agencies] 

WUHAN, China -- Eight of the world's top 10 women tennis players have confirmed to compete in this year's Wuhan Open tournament, organizers said Wednesday, while the biggest names Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are missing from the list.

Forty-three players from 19 countries and regions will participate in the WTA Premier 5 event scheduled to run from September 27 till October 3, said Fabrice Chouquet, foreign event director of the Wuhan Open.

Only one of the players are ranked below the world top 50, he said, adding that six of them are Grand Slam champions, including Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Venus Williams.

The organizers said that two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na will appear at the recently built Wuhan Optics Valley International Tennis Center on September 27 for the official unveiling of the 15,000-seat stadium, the biggest of its kind in Asia whose construction costs exceed one billion yuan (some $156 million).

Born and raised in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, Li have helped put Chinese tennis on the global map with her victories at the French Open and Australian Open.

The organizers have also said Petra Kvitova, the 2014 Wuhan Open champion, is eagerly anticipating her return.

"I'm really excited to come back to Wuhan this year and defend my title," the Czech is quoted as saying. "It was such an amazing event in its first year and I can't wait to see the changes they have made and to play in the new stadium. The Chinese fans are fantastic and create such a special atmosphere for us to play in."

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