Emma Raducanu, Jelena Ostapenko to compete at Korea Open
More than 80 tennis players will take to the hard courts at the Olympic Park Tennis Center in Songpa District, southern Seoul from Monday for the 2022 Hana Bank Korea Open, headlined by two former Grand Slam champions, 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
The top seed at the Korea Open is world No. 15 Ostapenko, a Latvian tennis player who won the 2017 French Open and reached a career-high No. 5 in the world rankings. Entering the French Open in 2017 at No. 47 in the world, Ostapenko made history by becoming the first Latvian player to win a Grand Slam singles title and the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933.
Ostapenko not only won her first Grand Slam that year, but three months later added her second WTA title at the Korea Open in Seoul at the end of September after entering the Korea Open as the top seed.
She recently added a women’s doubles title at the Western & Southern Open on Aug. 21, where she partnered up with Lyudmyla Kichenok to defeat Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez in two straight sets to win the title.
World No. 83 Raducanu of Britain is also headed to the Hana Bank Korea Open. Raducanu burst on to the tennis scene last year after becoming the first player to win a Grand Slam title after starting at the qualifiers. She became one of the best underdog stories in the history of tennis as she had only made her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon last year, just two months before entering the U.S. Open. She was ranked 150th in the world but still managed to smash through the U.S. Open without dropping a set to reach the finals, which she also won in straight sets.
The singles defending champion of the Korea Open is Lin Zhu of China, who competed in the 2021 Korea Open as the No. 2 seed and defeated top seed Kristina Mladenovic of France in two straight sets, 6-0, 6-4 to win her first-ever women’s singles WTA Challenger title.
The event will feature a 32-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles field. Korean tennis player Jang Su-jeong also joins the singles draw.
Jang, ranked 132th in the world, will compete at home after winning her first ever WTA 125 title at the Nordea Open this July. Despite failing to advance to the first round of the U.S. Open after being defeated by Russian tennis player Anastasia Zakharova in the first qualifier in August, Jang reached the semifinals of the TCCB Open the following week, smashing through the clay court event and winning every match in two straight sets en route to the semifinals. Her latest event was the WTA 125K Bali, where she reached the round of 16.
The doubles defending champions are Choi Ji-hee and Han Na-lae of Korea. They defeated Valentini Grammatikopoulou of Greece and Réka Luca Jani of Hungary to win the title.
The WTA event runs from Sept. 19 to 25. The tennis will continue for the rest of the month at Olympic Park, with the ATP Tour’s Korea Open running from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]