REIGNING Wimbledon women’s doubles champion Su-wei Hsieh is aiming to claim a Ballarat title on her way to the Australian Open.
She will play in the Ballarat Open Gold AMT Tournament on December 19-22.
Hsieh, 27, from Taiwan is ranked number three on the WTA doubles tour and has been as high as 23 in singles rankings.
She is using the Ballarat event as part of her warm-up to the Australian Open in the new year.
Like Melbourne Park, the home of the Australian Open, Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre (BRTC) has plexicushion courts.
BRTC manager Rob Benoit described attracting Hsieh, who will be playing in the Australian Open main singles and doubles draws, as a major coup in the second year of the event
“This is fantastic for Ballarat.”
The $7500 tournament has attracted 102 entries for the men’s singles title and 37 for the women’s singles.
AMT events, which also feature men’s and women’s doubles, are semi-professional, primarily attracting Australia’s leading domestic players and emerging youngsters.
Hsieh combined with China’s Peng Shuai to defeat Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty in this year’s Wimbledon’s women’s double final.
Hsieh is coached by Australian doubles legend Paul McNamee and ranked 86 in singles at the moment.
A resident of Taipei, Hsieh has won five WTA doubles titles this year for a career total of 14 and two singles titles since turning professional in 2001.
Last year’s Ballarat women’s singles winner Viktorija Rajicic is also returning to Ballarat along with semi-finalist Stefani Stojic and hometown national representative Zoe Hives.
The men’s singles will also have an international flavour with French duo Yvonnick L’Hurriec and Vincent Stouff, and Nicholas Yeo from Singapore.
L’Hurriec and Stouff will combine in the doubles.
BRTC and Ballarat Regional Tourism also announced a new national junior tour event for next year.
A Tennis Australia junior points tournament will be played on April 16-19.
This gives Ballarat two of these events, with Tennis Ballarat’s indoor facility in Sebastopol the venue for another mid-year.