China takes top WTA tournament from Tokyo from 2014

Updated: 2013-01-10 14:14


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The Chinese city of Wuhan will host a new women's tennis tournament from 2014 replacing the Pan Pacific Open, which has been held in Tokyo for three decades, the WTA Tour said on Thursday.

In a sign of China's growing importance in women's tennis, the world's most populous nation will host five tournaments from next season, including another new event in the special administrative region of Hong Kong.

China already boasts Beijing's China Open, one of the WTA's crown jewel events that stand just below the Grand Slams, as well as the Guangzhou International and the Shenzhen Open, which made its debut this year.

The tournament in Wuhan, a large city in Central China most notable in tennis circles for being the hometown of former French Open champion Li Na, will be a second tier event with around $2 million in prize money.

The WTA, which opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Beijing in 2008, has also added another three events on its developmental tour in China for 2013 to bring the total to six.

The Pan Pacific Open has been held in Tokyo since 1984 and counts Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis and Maria Sharapova among its former champions.

The 30th and last version of the event will take place from Sept 22-28 this year.

Related stories about Li Na and her hometown Wuhan:

Hubei to build $52m Li Na stadium

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