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December 3rd 2001 <br />Media Release <br />Organisers announced today a star studded line up to compete in The Hong Kong Ladies Challenge, Hong Kong's premier ladies tennis event.

The popular tournament will showcase the talents of eight world class players, headed by World No. 2 Jennifer Capriati.

The full field competing for the Winner's trophy is:<br />Jennifer Capriati - USA and World No. 2<br />Mary Pierce - France and two time Grand Slam Singles Champion<br />Elena Dementieva - Russia and World No. 15<br />Amanda Coetzer - South Africa and World No. 19<br />Barbara Schett - Austria and World No. 21<br />Tamarine Tanasugarn - Thailand and World No. 29<br />Lina Krasnoroutskaya - Russia and World No. 34<br />Angelique Widjaja - Indonesia and Wimbledon Junior Champion 2001

<br />The Hong Kong Ladies Challenge is jointly presented by the Tennis Patrons's Association and the Leisure & Cultural Services Department and takes place from January 2-5, 2002 at Victoria Park, Causeway Bay. The tournament serves as an important warm up event to the Australian Open, best illustrated by Jennifer Capriati, who played in the Hong Kong Event last year, and then victoriously claimed the Australian Open title two weeks later.

The Hong Kong Ladies Challenge is now in its fourth year and continues to attract established stars and talented new faces. Mary Pierce, French and Australian Open Champion, marks her comeback with her second appearance in Hong Kong. Injured for much of last year, Pierce is a proven competitor, determined to regain the form which has taken her to No. 3 in the world. Testing her ability will be Elena Dementieva, tipped to join the elite of female players, and blessed with the power and strength to live with the big hitters of the modern game.

Adding depth to the field is Austrian No. 1 Barbara Schett, who also enjoys the distinction of outvoting Anna Kournikova in the glamour stakes! In a recent poll she was voted the most desirable player on the women's tour, outgunning Kournikova into second place. She is joined by the tenacious South African, Amanda Coetzer, an athlete who has no fear of any player in the world.

Completing the field is the talented Thai Tamarine Tanasugarn. At No. 29 in the world rankings she has the ability to knock out all the big names, and in a similar mould is Lina Krasnoroutskaya, an athlete who is quickly fulfilling her vast potential. Lina returns to Hong Kong after her debut here two years ago when she was the ITF Junior World Champion. She has now leapt up to No. 34 in the WTA world rankings and is clearly destined to go higher. The final player in the line up is Angelique Widjaja, Wimbledon Junior Champion 2001. Angelique has already won her first WTA tour title, and could be the best player yet to come out of Asia.

President of the Hong Kong Tennis Patrons' Association Colvin Brown commented "We're delighted with this field of players. It's going to be a fiercely competitive tournament, as all of these athletes are determined to start the year on a strong note".

Mr. Brown added "In this difficult environment the TPA would like to acknowledge with grateful thanks, all the people who have stood behind this event. The LCSD has been a tower of strength to us, as have Watsons Water and Hutchison Telecom, and of course all our other important Sponsors and Patrons".

The Tennis Patrons' Association also announced the immediate start of ticket sales. To reflect the difficult times in Hong Kong, tickets range from just HK$200 - HK$400. For fans eager to buy tickets now a special Early Bird offer gives purchasers $50 off the cost of each ticket. This promotion runs to December 12th only. Tickets are on sale at all Urbtix Outlets. For Reservations please call 2734 9009 or for credit card bookings, call 2111 5999.

Fans who want to know more about this event can visit our website <a href="http://www.hktpa.com." target="_blank">www.hktpa.com.</a>

For more information call Terry Catton, Co-Tournament Director on 2723 8721.
 

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It is highly unlikely that Mary Pierce will have to play through qualifying at Hobart. She will almost certainly get a wildcard. Even so, the Hong Kong event finishes on the Saturday with the finals. If Pierce is in the finals, and has not got a Hobart main draw wildcard, they will let her off a day and have her first match on the 6th. It is often done for players still competing in other events. They would not want to lose a draw like Mary Pierce from the draw.
 

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The lineup for the exhibition (read: non WTA Tour event) can still change even that they have released an official statement. I heard this from Angie's camp. I can say that the committee probably has a list of 2-3 players ready to fill up any cancellations (just like Hingis who declined). But this list is already more than I can hope for. Let's hope this event can make some noise!

<a href="http://GoAngie.com" target="_blank">GoAngie!com</a>
 
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