Sun, Feb 03, 2019 - Page 11 News List

WTA loses New Haven, but adds Zhengzhou event

AFP, MIAMI, Florida

A new September event in Zhengzhou, China, and the loss of a US Open tune-up tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, highlighted changes to this year’s WTA calendar announced on Friday.

The new premier-level WTA event, among 10 tournaments this year in China, is to launch this year’s Asian swing for the women’s tennis circuit, taking place the week after the US Open with US$1 million in prize money this year and US$1.5 million next year.

A new 8,000-seat stadium is to be part of a state-of-the-art facility to be completed by next year for the Zhengzhou stop and eases the flow of events to the WTA Finals at Shenzhen.

“The Zhengzhou Open marks a huge milestone for the growth of tennis in the Asian region and particularly in China,” said Charles Hsiung, president of the tournament operating group.

Two other European events are to replace other tournaments, with the Ladies Championship Lausanne being staged in Switzerland the week of July 15 just after Wimbledon and the Baltic Open taking place the following week in Jurmala, Latvia — the first WTA event to be staged in the nation.

Those events would replace the Ladies Championships Gstaad and the Moscow River Cup.

The Connecticut Open, a staple in the US Open run-up for more than two decades, is over as organizers sold their sanctioning rights after losing a main sponsor.

“It has been an amazing 21-year run for women’s professional tennis in New Haven,” tournament director Anne Worcester said.

The WTA said it is looking at other opportunities for an event in the week before the US Open, perhaps as soon as this August.

“We look forward to bringing women’s tennis to Zhengzhou and Henan Province, and continue to grow the sport across China and the Asia-Pacific region,” WTA chairman Steve Simon said. “We are additionally excited about the interest we are receiving in the marketplace from two US cities.”

This year includes 55 events across 29 nations with more than US$164 million in prize money.

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