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Women’s tennis Elite Trophy is a smash hit in Zhuhai

By Owen Fishwick

Updated: 2016-12-12


Three aces: tennis legend Steffi Graf (centre) with Elite Trophy finalists Petra Kvitova (right) and Elina Svitolina in Zhuhai, China CREDIT: CHINA DAILY

The WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai is proving hugely popular with world tennis stars, fans and up-and-coming Chinese players.

The second Women’s Tennis Association Elite Trophy Zhuhai came to a thrilling climax on November 6, as two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic overcame Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-2 to win the title and a bundle of tour points.

At the tournament, which has been hosted at the southern Guangdong city’s International Tennis Centre in Hengqin New Area since last year, many of the world’s best tennis stars battled it out in what has fast become one of the top professional tennis contests held in China, drawing crowds from home and abroad.

“I didn’t expect that many people during the day, but in the end many people came, and it was a great atmosphere out there,” said Kvitova after her win.

We will see another Li Na come as a result of all the new programmes

China’s No 1 and world No 28 Zhang Shuai put in a good showing, reaching the semifinals after coming from behind to defeat Timea Babos of Hungary in a thrilling match on centre court.

Zhang’s impressive performance comes as Chinese tennis again makes its ascent to the world stage after Li Na’s retirement in 2014.

Steve Simon, WTA CEO, said that there are encouraging signs in Chinese tennis now. “Zhang has had a great year, but there are 19 other Chinese players in both singles and doubles ranked in the world’s top 100, which says a lot for the development programmes going on.

“There has been great success not only from the tournament side but also from the player side. We will see another Li Na come as a result of all the programmes that are in place. We are very excited about the future of tennis in China.”

There are so many tournaments in China now, which is great for Chinese players

Elite Trophy runner-up Elina Svitolina said more tournaments in China mean better chances for up-and-coming Chinese players. “There are so many tournaments in China now, which is great for Chinese players because they have these opportunities to play a lot of tournaments to get some points to play at bigger events and grand slams.”

Steffi Graf, the former champion player and this year’s ambassador for the Elite Trophy, made her first appearance on the Chinese mainland, giving a tennis clinic on Nov 5 on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world’s longest cross-sea bridge.

She spoke positively about her time in the city. “I love Zhuhai so much. It has a long coast line and boasts hills and lots of water.”

Click here to read the original article on The Telegraph


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