Hotshots gather for all-star China Open
While the US Open concludes this weekend, Chinese tennis fans will have the chance to get closer to their idols at the 2005 China Open which starts on Saturday.
The tournament, held at the Beijing Tennis Centre, is the biggest tennis event ever to be held in Beijing.
Last year's inaugural competition set off a tennis frenzy across the country, as Russia's Marat Safin won the men's singles and Serena Williams of the USA took the women's title.
This year the US$1.1 million tournament has attracted a stronger line-up, including eight former Grand Slam singles champions.
The sizzling 2005 French Open winner Rafael Nadal will be present, along with Spaniards Carlos Moya and Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Argentine Guillermo Coria.
On the women's side, five of the world's top 10 players will join the all-star roster, including the world's top two players Maria Sharapova of Russia and Lindsay Davenport of the United States. 2004 US Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova will also being aiming for the title, along with glamorous tennis siblings Serena and Venus Williams.
Adding to the strong line-up of foreign players, the improving Chinese women's players Peng Shuai, Li Na and Athens Olympic doubles gold medallists Li Ting and Sun Tiantian will also compete before the enthusiastic home spectators.
"I am confident of organizing a successful tournament this year," said Ekkehard Rathgeber, the event's general-director. "The clear objectives of the China Open are to develop it into one of the world's top five tennis tournaments and to ensure it is a great asset to China's preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games."
(China Daily 09/10/2005 page1)