Dec 28, 2017

Maria Sharapova arrives at Shenzhen Open

Source: Maria Sharapova's Twitter

Tennis icon Maria Sharapova and 16-year-old Chinese sensation Wang Xinyu got themselves ready for a roaring start to the new season with a visit to the Longgang Dragon Square here in Shenzhen. ‘Long Cheng Guang Chang’, as it’s known locally, is a famous landmark square in the heart of the Longgang district of Shenzhen city and features a towering statue of a bronze dragon as its centerpiece.

Sharapova made her long-awaited return to tour this April and has steadily climbed up the rankings since, culminating with her first title in two years coming at Tianjin in October.

“Last year’s title in Tianjin was quite meaningful after not having a title for a couple of years. I felt like I’ve built quite a good base at the end of last season and now to start the year in a new place is always exciting. We travel around the world often to the same places and see the same people, so to see a new set of fans here in Shenzhen and to experience a new environment and stadium - it’s always invigorating to start a year that way,” said the 30-year-old Russian, who will be making her Shenzhen Open debut next week.

Meanwhile, Wang is set to be the youngest female player in the main draw of next month's Australian Open. The plucky lass defeated top seed Misaki Doi in the semi-final and Abigail Tere-Apisah in the final of the Australian Open Asia-Pacific wildcard playoff early this month to book her spot in Melbourne.

“I think the key to my victory was to just keep going and never give up, even when you’re not playing your best tennis. It just felt amazing because me and my team, we didn’t think I could make it and so we’re very happy I did. I haven’t played matches in a long time because of the off season so it would be nice to start 2018 with a good performance in Shenzhen. I’m excited to play here in front of my home fans as I’m sure I will get a lot of support,” said the Shenzhen native, who will be youngest ever Chinese tennis player to feature in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

The Shenzhen Open is organized by the Chinese Tennis Association, Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sport and Tourism and CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company and is co-organized by the Bureau of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Longgang District, Shenzhen Gemdale Sports Industry Co. Ltd. and Kaisa Culture Sports & Tourism Group.

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