Peng Shuai to play on WTA tour next year after success in Taipei Open

Peng Shuai Said to Be in Videos From China’s State Media After successful run at Taipei Open, Peng serves serve as Singapore’s Martina Hingis goes to clay at Wuhan Open on Thursday This was Peng’s second French Open title after her triumph in 2012. Photograph: Gilles Daniel/EPA

China’s Peng Shuai is to play on the WTA tour from next year – a season that will also see the women’s final for the first time be held on the Chinese courts where Peng is based.

In a major coup for the tour, the 27-year-old, who will turn 28 during the 2019 season, won the Taipei Open this week, as she beat Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 to claim her second career title.

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Among the many fans of the China-based Peng have been organizers of the Wuhan Open, in her native province of Hubei, who keenly hope she will become an anchor for their tournament.

“As a fan of Peng Shuai, I am delighted to know that Wuhan Open is giving her the opportunity to achieve her dream. I hope this is the first step of a long road and to help to build a fan club for Wuhan Open,” Wuhan tournament director Fan Zhendong said.

China has had a huge influence on the women’s game this year with Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and the newly crowned world No1, Naomi Osaka, all rising from junior circuit star to professional player in Asia’s fast-growing sporting scene.

Peng had been playing on a Futures tour before making it big in 2013 and the handful of three-time grand slam semi-finalists she has now reached is a record for Chinese women.

She said the chance to play her home event had been one of the reasons for her victory in Taipei.

“I wanted to try to win it for my fans,” Peng said. “But the extra motivation is also the Wuhan event which will give me another chance to play at home and I have to make the most of it.”

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