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Tennis: WTA CEO congratulates Li Na, Peng Shuai on historic highs

Li Na’s win at last month’s Australia Open put her on the cusp of her current World No. 2 singles ranking, which broke her own WTA record for an Asian player. Photo: AFP.

Li Na’s win at last month’s Australia Open put her on the cusp of her current World No. 2 singles ranking, which broke her own WTA record for an Asian player. Photo: AFP.

February 17, 2014: Li Na and Peng Shuai have set new national records for Chinese tennis following their rise to career highs in the latest WTA rankings released on Monday, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Li becomes the first Asian player to hold the WTA World No. 2 singles ranking, while Peng is the first Chinese player to ascend to the WTA World No. 1 doubles ranking. Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA, paid tribute to the Chinese duo.

 

“I’d like to congratulate Li Na and Peng Shuai on their achievements and rise up the WTA rankings to respective career highs,” Allaster said. “As they have done throughout their careers, both players continue to set new milestones for Chinese tennis. Their accomplishments are truly inspirational and the WTA is fortunate to have such ambassadors representing the sport around the world.

 

“I’m also thrilled that with a record number of WTA events to be held in Asia-Pacific in 2014, culminating in the WTA Championships in Singapore, Asian fans will have a unique opportunity to see their heroines in action in the months and years ahead.”

 

Li, 31, has started the 2014 season in outstanding form, winning the Shenzhen Open and then the Australian Open last month to take her haul of WTA singles titles to nine. Having already held the record for highest ranked Asian player in history at No. 3, which she achieved following her runner-up finish at last year’s season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul, Li has now bettered that mark.

 

“To go to No. 2 in the world is definitely a proud accomplishment for me and my team,” Li said. “We have worked very hard and look to improve every week. It is an exciting time for tennis in China and I’m confident that younger players will do better than what we’ve achieved.”

 

Peng, 28, and Hsieh Su-wei enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2013, when the pair won five doubles titles, highlighted by their first Grand Slam at Wimbledon. Hsieh became the first player from Chinese Taipei and Peng the fifth Chinese player to win a Grand Slam title of any kind.

 

The duo concluded the year by becoming the first team from Asia to win the WTA Championships, having won the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), Western and Southern Open (Cincinnati) and Guangzhou Open.

 

Following their success at last week’s Qatar Total Open in Doha, the pair now have a perfect 10-0 record in doubles finals. Hsieh will move to a career-high doubles ranking of No. 2 – the highest ranking ever for a player from Chinese Taipei.

 

“To be No. 1 was a goal of mine this year. We were very close at the end of last year. It is something I have worked very hard for,” said Peng, who also won the recent Pattaya Open with compatriot Zhang Shuai.

 

“With Li Na going to No. 2 in singles and Hsieh Su-wei taking the No. 2 doubles ranking, this is a big breakthrough for Asian tennis. We are looking forward to the rest of the year and hopefully the WTA Championships in Singapore.”

 

WTA World No. 1 Doubles Players

Player                                      Weeks Date Reached

Martina Navratilova (USA)     237      September 10, 1984

Liezel Huber (USA)                199      November 12, 2007

Cara Black (ZIM)                    163      October 17, 2005

Lisa Raymond (USA)             137      June 12, 2000

Natasha Zvereva (BLR)        124      October 7, 1991

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (ESP)          111      October 19, 1992

Paola Suarez (ARG)               87        September 9, 2002

Gigi Fernandez (USA)                        80        March 4, 1991

Roberta Vinci (ITA)                 70        October 15, 2012

Helena Sukova (CZE)                        68        February 5, 1990

Jana Novotna (CZE)              67        August 27, 1990

Virginia Ruano Pascual (ESP)            65        September 8, 2003

Samantha Stosur (AUS)         61        February 6,2006

Pam Shriver (USA)                 48        March 18, 1985

Sara Errani (ITA)                     47        September 10, 2012

Ai Sugiyama (JPN)                 45        October 23, 2000

Martina Hingis (SUI)               35        June 8, 1998

Lindsay Davenport (USA)     32        October 20, 1997

Gisela Dulko (ARG)                24        November 1, 2010

Flavia Pennetta (ITA)              18        February 28, 2011

Julie Halard-Decugis (FRA)    14        September 11, 2000

Anna Kournikova (RUS)         10        November 22, 1999

Kveta Peschke (CZE)                        10        July 4, 2011

Katarina Srebotnik (SLO)       10        July 4, 2011

Serena Williams (USA)           8          June 7, 2010

Venus Williams (USA)            8          June 7, 2010

Corina Morariu (USA)             7          April 3, 2010

Kim Clijsters (BEL)                  4          August 4, 2003

Larisa Neiland (LAT)               4          January 27, 1992

Rennae Stubbs (AUS)           3          August 21, 2000

Peng Shuai (CHN)                 1*         February 17, 2014

Note: Ranking introduced September 10, 1984; figures updated February 17, 2014

 

Source: WTA

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