Shenzhen (China): China's 2017 tennis season will start with the WTA Shenzhen Open on Sunday when Polish world No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska will hope to carry the luck of the top seed here.
In the past four years, the top seed of each edition won the crown and top seeded again in Shenzhen, Radwanska will begin her title defence facing 100th ranked home player Duan Yingying in the first round, reports Xinhua.
The year 2016 has seen the 2015 WTA Finals winner consolidate her place at the very top of the tennis tree and the highlight came in October when she defeated British rising star Johanna Konta to collect her third China Open crown in Beijing. The biggest question surrounding the 27-year-old in the new year would be whether she can eventually win the Grand Slam. Her best Grand Slam result was at Wimbledon in 2012 when she entered the final.
Joining Radwanska in Shenzhen draw are world No.4 Simona Halep of Romania and 2016 China Open finalist Konta, ranked 10th in the WTA rankings.
Halep's best memory at Shenzhen was in 2015 when she came as the top seed and finally won the championship. The 25-year-old is hoping to rebuild success at the southern city and maybe she will go through a tough first round when facing former world No.1, Serbia's Jelena Jankovic.
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The high-flying Konta has a chance to take revenge on Radwanska now. Alongside new coach Wim Fissette, the 25-year-old wants to continue her impressive performance in the 2016 season which saw her ranking jumped 37 places to number 10 and was named WTA's Most Improved Player Of The Year.
China's Peng Shuai will attract a lot of attention as well although she is a seeded player in Shenzhen. The former Chinese top player has gradually found her form after the waist surgery in 2015. The 30-year-old won her career's first single championship at Tianjin Open in October after beating Venus Williams in the first round of 2016 China Open.
Shenzhen Open, inaugurated in 2013, has the highest prize money of any International tier events on the calendar, totaling 750,000 dollars.