Bengaluru: The Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) will host the third edition of the KPB Trust ITF Women's Open from January 14 to 21 in a new avatar. This premier tennis tournament will be played under lights for the first time, thus enhancing the spectator experience.
“We are very excited to support women’s tennis in India with the upcoming KPB Trust ITF Women’s Open tennis championships, which we have supported for many years. Our family office is very focused on serving aces of equality and breaking barriers, rallying together for a future where every woman's potential is unleashed. We feel that a greater participation and success of women in business will be a long-term game changer for India going forward,” said KP Balaraj, founder, KPB Trust and a former top ranked National level tennis player.
Boasting of an impressive US $40,000 in prize money, the KPB Trust ITF Women's Open has attracted the best of women's tennis talent from around the world. The event serves as a crucial platform for emerging players to showcase their skills, with the added incentive of 50 WTA points for the winner. Potentially, there could be 9 Indian players in the singles main draw of 32 (4 wildcards for main draw and 5 wildcards for qualifying).
“We thank Mr. KP Balaraj of KPB Family trust for his continued support to the coveted event on the women’s circuit. There is a solid synergy between the Trust’s mission and objectives of KSLTA. The KPB Trust ITF Women's Open not only celebrates athletic excellence but also serves as a crucial stepping stone for Indian players, who gain a home advantage as they compete on familiar turf. The event has played a pivotal role in nurturing local talent and contributing to the growth of women's tennis in our nation and creating top class athletes’ said Shri Priyank Kharge, Hon'ble Minister of IT BT & RDPR, Govt. of Karnataka who is also the Sr. Vice President of KSLTA. “This event is extremely important for us as it’s one of the few ITF W50 events in the world and we welcome the sporting ambassadors from 21 countries to come and experience the hospitality of Bengaluru which is in pursuit of becoming the global sporting destination,” said Shri Kharge.
On the competition front, the main draw includes 20 direct entries, four wild cards and eight qualifiers. Last edition’s finalist Ankita Raina is the lone Indian figuring in the list of direct entries as per the acceptance list. Latvian Darja Semenistaja, ranked 143rd on the WTA rankings, leads the list of a highly competitive field comprising players from over 19 countries.
The qualifying rounds will be held on Jan 14 and 15 while the main round begins from Jan 16.
Soha, Suhita given wildcards: Meanwhile, Soha Sadiq and Suhita Maruri, two of the most promising players from Karnataka have been given a wild card for the main draw by KSLTA.