Chinese player Wang Qiang wild-carded into star-studded Wuhan Open

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WUHAN, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — World No. 44 Wang Qiang will take part in this month’s Wuhan Open after being awarded a wild card into the 2.75-million-dollar WTA Premier 5 tournament, organizers announced on Friday.

Wang, who is ranked second in China behind Zhang Shuai, was close to joining her compatriot as a direct entrant into the main draw but narrowly missed out due to this year’s exceptionally strong singles entry list, the Wuhan Open organizing committee said in a statement.

“To play the best tournaments in China is always a dream and Wuhan is one of my favorite tournaments. Having the home crowd behind you is an amazing feeling so I can’t wait to play. I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Wang.

The 2018 Wuhan Open will host all four of this year’s reigning Grand Slam singles champions including newly-crowned US Open winner Naomi Osaka when main draw play gets underway on September 23.

Osaka, who picked up her first Grand Slam title with a memorable win over Serena Williams in the final of the US Open on Saturday, will be joined by this year’s Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, Roland Garros winner Simona Halep and Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, 2016 Roland Garros and 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, 2017 Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens are also entered into Wuhan in what is the tournament’s fifth year.

There is no shortage of star quality in the 2018 Wuhan Open’s doubles line-up either. The Wuhan Open organizing committee also announced Friday that recent US Open runners-up Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos lead the early entries for the 28-team doubles draw.

They will be joined by Barbora Styrcova and Andrea Sestini Hlavackova, Gabriella Dabrowski and Yifan Xu, as well as Andrea Klepac and Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez among other strong pairs.

Latisha Chan, who won the Wuhan Open doubles title last year alongside the now retired Martina Hingis, will return to the central Chinese city to play with experienced Czech Lucie Hradecka.

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