String quartet tunes up after dominating vote

String quartet tunes up after dominating vote
Shelby Rogers, one of the four players who topped a worldwide poll by fans.

They were voted for by tennis fans as the game's future stars and accordingly, they will compete in Singapore next week to justify that tag.

The quartet of Zarina Diyas, Zheng Saisai (both 20 years old), Monica Puig and Shelby Rogers (both 21) will clash at the inaugural Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Rising Stars Invitational after emerging tops in a worldwide poll that garnered over 692,000 votes from over 346,000 fans from 140 countries.

The tournament takes place during the WTA Finals at the Sports Hub from Oct 17-26.

Diyas and Zheng, who hail from Kazakhstan and China respectively, will represent the Asia-Pacific group while American Rogers and Puerto Rican Puig will play under the Rest of World banner.

Currently, Diyas is the highest-ranked of the quartet, with a WTA ranking of 37, ah ead of Puig (63), Rogers (71) and the unranked Zheng.

The first two matches of the singles tournament will be played on Oct 17 and 18, with both winners meeting in the final on Oct 21.

"We're excited to showcase the next generation of talent at the WTA Rising Stars Invitational at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore," said Stacey Allaster, chairman and chief executive officer of the WTA.

"We wanted to hear from our fans and the response was terrific. It shows that our players continue to have a strong connection with fans around the world."

Aside from the future, tennis fans will also get up close with the past greats of the sport, who will be here in Singapore.

Martina Navratilova, the 18-time Grand Slam champion, will compete with three-time Grand Slam winner Tracy Austin, Marion Bartoli (2013 Wimbledon singles champion) and another unannounced former player, in the Legends tournament.

Chinese star Li Na, who retired last month, will also be in town to interact with fans at the WTA Fan Fest on Oct 19. She will also appear at the opening ceremony of the WTA Finals on Oct 20 as the official ambassador of the tournament.

The WTA Finals pit the top eight players from this season's singles and doubles ranking in a US$6.5 million (S$8.31m) tennis extravaganza. This will be the first of five editions to be hosted by Singapore.

In a star-studded singles line-up, four-time winner Serena Williams will join the likes of Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Eugenie Bouchard, Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic.

The singles draw for the finals wil be conducted on Oct 18 in Singapore.

This article was first published on October 9, 2014.
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