World No.24 Mihaela Buzarnescu headlines an outstanding Hobart International 2019 field.
The Romanian, a finalist in her Hobart debut in 2018, is one of six former top 20-ranked players confirmed to compete in January.
Swiss star and former world No.7 Belinda Bencic, who teamed with Roger Federer to win the Mastercard Hopman Cup in 2018, is also returning to Hobart. While the 21-year-old is set to make her tournament debut, it is not her first visit. Bencic, when she was the world’s top-ranked junior, played mentor Martina Hingis in a special exhibition match during the 2014 tournament.
China’s Zhang Shuai, the tournament’s top seed in 2018 and a former Australian Open quarterfinalist, is returning. Alize Cornet, the Hobart International 2016 champion, and four-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova add to the quality 2019 line-up.
The field will also include two Wimbledon semifinalists –Magdalena Rybarikova, who reached the final four at Wimbledon in 2017 and achieved a career-high ranking of No.17 earlier this season, and Kirsten Flipkens, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2013 and a former world No.13. Both players are also former Hobart International semifinalists.
Reigning Australian Open doubles champion Timea Babos, who rose to world No.1 in doubles in 2018, will challenge for the title. As will Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske, who led the United States’ Fed Cup team in the 2018 final earlier this month.
Tasmanian fans will also get to see some of the game’s brightest young players in action.
Greece’s Maria Sakkari, who achieved a career-high ranking of No.29 in 2018, is one to watch. The 23-year-old, who scored wins over Naomi Osaka, Ash Barty and Venus Williams this year, will chase her first WTA title in Hobart.
Big-hitting Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska, who makes her tournament debut after skyrocketing up the ranks in 2018, and 20-year-old Australian Open 2016 girls’ singles champion Vera Lapko have also entered.
Hobart International Tournament Director Darren Sturgess believes Tasmanian tennis fans are in for a treat this summer.
“We have an exciting mix of experienced players and upcoming stars confirmed to compete in our 26th edition in January,” Sturgess said.
“We’re thrilled to welcome back former world No.11 Alize Cornet, who is a fan favourite here in Hobart, and Mihaela Buzarnescu, who earnt a lot of respect with her run to our 2018 final.
“Belinda Bencic is a former top 10 player rebuilding her ranking following injuries and is one of many young promising players in the field.
“The Hobart International has a proud history of unearthing future stars, as reigning champion Elise Mertens demonstrated in her top 20 rise this year. Naomi Osaka won the US Open after starting her season in Hobart, and 2018 quarterfinalist Aryna Sabalenka is now verging on a top 10 debut. Looking at our 2019 entry list, I would not be surprised to see some similar breakthroughs begin here again.
“We are proud to be the only standalone WTA tournament in Australia and I encourage all Tasmanians to buy a ticket to come along to our family-friendly event to see these world-class athletes in action.”
|Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU)||No.24|
|Zhang Shuai (CHN)||No.40|
|Maria Sakkari (GRE)||No.41|
|Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)||No.42|
|Belinda Bencic (SUI)||No.44|
|Alize Cornet (FRA)||No.47|
|Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)||No.48|
|Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK)||No.49|
|Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL)||No.50|
|Sofia Kenin (USA)||No.52|
|Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK)||No.54|
|Pauline Parmentier (FRA)||No.56|
|Dayana Yastremska (UKR)||No.58|
|Timea Babos (HUN)||No.59|
|Ons Jabeur (TUN)||No.60|
|Alison Riske (USA)||No.62|
|Rebecca Peterson (SWE)||No.63|
|Vera Lapko (BLR)||No.65|
|Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)||No.67|
|Wang Yafan (CHN)||No.70|
|Johanna Larsson (SWE)||No.75|
Fans who purchase their Hobart International tickets in November enter the draw to win the tournament’s biggest-ever fan prize, a ‘live like a player’ experience. The prize includes finals tickets, accommodation in the official player hotel, pre-match dining in the player restaurant, official tournament transport to and from the venue, as well as the chance to attend the singles champions’ official trophy photo shoot. Tickets are available now through Ticketek.
Hobart International 2019 takes place at the Domain Tennis Centre from 5-12 January 2019.