The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced today the four participants selected by fans to compete in the 2015 WTA Rising Stars Invitational, which will take place from October 22 – 25, as part of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Caroline Garcia (FRA) and Ons Jabeur (TUN) will represent the Rest of World group, while Zhu Lin (CHN) and Naomi Osaka (JPN) will compete under the Asia-Pacific group. The second annual WTA Rising Stars Invitational introduces fans to the next generation of women’s tennis stars at WTA’s biggest event of the year.
The selection of the four finalists resulted from a worldwide fan vote which began on September 8, through an online poll located at www.wtafinals.com and social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The voting consisted of 18 players over a five week period, during which fans had the opportunity to vote for their favorite WTA Rising Star. Over 2 million votes from 137 countries were registered, an increase from the near 700,000 votes received in its inaugural 2014 year.
Caroline Garcia, 21, holds seven top 20 wins so far this season. The French Rising Star reached back-to-back finals at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL - Acapulco and the Abierto Monterrey Afirme. She also reached four doubles finals, clinching the title at Aegon International Eastbourne with Slovenian partner Katarina Srebotnik.
The highest-ranked player from Africa, 21-year old Ons Jabeur, reached a career-high ranking of No.118 this year after qualifying for the Australian Open and BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where she reached the second round. The Tunisian holds a total of seven ITF Circuit singles titles and captured the 2011 Roland Garros girls’ singles title.
Naomi Osaka, 17, reached a career-high ranking of No. 156 this year after two final appearances at the $75k ITF/Gifu-JPN and $50k ITF/Surbiton-GBR, falling to the No.1 seed at both tournaments. The Haitian-Japanese Rising Star grabbed her first top-20 win over US Open champion Samantha Stosur at the Bank of the West Classic - Stanford last year.
The 21-year old Zhu Lin holds a total of 9 ITF Circuit titles – six in singles and three in doubles. She made her Grand Slam main draw debut this year at Wimbledon after reaching a career-high ranking of No. 107. Last year, the Chinese Rising Star reached eight finals, winning at the $10k ITF/Antalya 6-TUR and then three titles in a row at the $25k ITF/Balikpapan-INA, $10k ITF/Tarakan-INA and $10k ITF/Solo-INA.
"I am delighted to welcome Zhu Lin, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Garcia and Ons Jabeur to Singapore,” said Melissa Pine, Tournament Director of the WTA Finals and Vice President of WTA Asia Pacific. “The fans have voted for this fantastic lineup of players and will get to witness their rise to stardom at the WTA Rising Stars Invitational. We are thrilled to gather the past, present and future together at the WTA Finals as the WTA Rising Stars will play alongside the WTA Future Stars, the WTA Legends, as well as the top players in the world to make up an exciting 10 days of outstanding tennis action."
For the second year, the four WTA Rising Stars will compete in a round robin format in Singapore. Each WTA Rising Star will go head-to-head, followed by a final match between the two with the best results. Finalists will compete on the same stage as the world’s top 8 women’s tennis stars as well as participate in clinics and community outreach programs throughout the WTA Finals.
The Rising Stars Invitational event will showcase these next generation of stars competing in an alternative scoring format. Players can also choose to have their coach courtside on the player bench for the entirety of the match and can utilize the newly launched SAP Tennis Analytics for coaches, whereby players and coaches can access real-time performance data during live match play on a WTA authorized tablet.
Additionally, all matches at the WTA Rising Stars Invitational will be streamed live on WTAFinals.com along with the WTA Finals app powered by SAP. Notably, the WTA Rising Stars Invitational held at OCBC Arena at the Singapore Sports Hub is free to the public, making it accessible to all fans.
In 2015, fans and spectators of the WTA Finals can expect the WTA to amplify engagement efforts by building a deeper connection with the fan base, delivering richer, more compelling digital content and creating money can’t buy experiences all in an effort to further its vision to become the most fan-friendly sport entertainment experience on earth.
Tickets for the general public start at S$16.90 and can be purchased through http://WTAFinals.com/Tickets. Log on to the WTA Finals website www.WTAFinals.com for more information and follow on Twitter (@WTAFinalsSG) and Facebook.