Thai No 1 players Luksika Kumkhum and Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul will carry the local hopes into the US$125K WTA EA Hua Hin Championships and the US$150,000 ATP-EA HUa Hin Open Challenger due next week and between 18-26 November respectively at the True Arena Hua Hin.
The world No 124 Luksika will return to the beach city after she lifted up one of her two US$25,000 ITF trophies in 2017 there in July in the country’s biggest women’s tennis event.
While Luksika who caused a stir in September as she, as a qualifier, stormed into the semi-finals of the WTA Korea Open in Seoul before losing to French Open victor Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in three tough sets will be joined by Thai No 2 Peangtarn Plipuech, Chompoothip Jandakate and Yanin Wisitwarapron. The three Thais receive wildcards into the event.
While the top four seeds shall be world No 44, Wang Qiang of China, No 84 Evgeniya Rodina of Russia, No 92 Duan Ying-ying of China, and No 95 Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwa, the tournament will also feature several former top players including Vera Zvonareva of Russia, the 2010 Wimbledon finalist.
Zvonareva who reached her career highest at No 2 in October seven years ago will hope to seek further successes in the Kingdom after she won two of her six WTA titles in Pattaya between 2009-10. At 33, the Russian has made several comeback attempts on the tour due to injuries. However this year she returned from motherhood and reached the 125K series final in Dailan last month.
Also committed to play are former world No 12 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium and former world No 7 and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland who is trying to regain her confidence after plummeting outside the top 100 since early 2017.
In terms of the ATP challenger which marks the third challenger series in Thailand (the first two were held in Bangkok in January) and offers the highest overall prize money for men’s tennis in Thailand this year,Wishaya, Pruchya Isarow and Jirat Navasirisomboon have been warded privilege cards into the event as their rankings are not high enough.
Matthew Ebden of Australia, former world No 61 from Australia, world No 128 Peter Polanski of Canada all signed up for the competition which begins on November 18.