CHINA OPEN to become a super tournament - this year headlined by Henin and Hingis.
Henin, Hingis head all-star line-up at China Open
By Li Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-04-19 08:50
Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters the China Open has never lacked star power and this year's tournament is no exception.
World No 1 Justin Henin and "Swiss Miss" Martina Hingis are set to compete in the $1.1 million tournament in Beijing in September, while in the men's event big servers Fernando Gonzalez and Ivan Ljubicic head the draw.
The past three competitions have attracted top players like Russia's Marat Safin, Nicolay Davydenko and Lindsay Davenport, and adding to the excitement this year is the form of China's women's players.
Peng Shuai, Li Na and Australian Open doubles titlists Zheng Jie and Yan Zi will all compete before their home crowd.
"I am confident of organizing a successful tournament this year," said China's tennis chief Sun Jinfang. "The clear objectives of the China Open are to develop it into one of the world's top five tennis tournaments and to ensure it is a great asset to China's preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games."
Beijing beat Dubai, Tokyo and Bangkok to win the rights to host a nine-day elite mandatory Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tournament last week, becoming one of four cities hosting elite events on a 20-tour top-level calendar in 2010.
Other mandatory women's stops will be in Madrid, Miami and Indian Wells, California.
A streamlined WTA calendar of top events will include Asia-Pacific regional stops in Tokyo, Sydney, Doha and Dubai, while the WTA will establish an office in Beijing in 2008 to guide marketing and promotions.
The WTA and Beijing will also explore the potential to link with the ATP Shanghai Masters Series event to create a combined ATP-WTA event that would rotate annually between Shanghai and Beijing. Prize money will jump 30 percent to $7.2 million, with a minimum of $4 million at the elite four events. Men and women will get equal amounts
Martina HINGIS [Australian Open 97/98/99, Wimbledon 97, US Open 97]
Kim CLIJSTERS [US Open 05/09/10, Australian Open 11]
Ana IVANOVIC [French Open 08]