Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova sign up for inaugural Wuhan Open

Photo: Bob Martin/SI

The WTA has made no secret of its desire to get a firm foothold in China by adding a new Premier 5 tournament Wuhan this fall. The tournament has announced that No. 1 Serena Williams has signed on to the tournament, which begins two weeks after the U.S. Open on September 21st. The tournament has also received confirmations from all three of this year's Slam champions -- No. 2 Li Na, No. 5 Petra Kvitova and No. 6 Maria Sharapova. The event marks the first time Li will be able to play a WTA-level event in her hometown.

The Wuhan Open will replace the Tokyo Open as the sole Premier 5 tournament in Asia, joining the mandatory China Open in Beijing as the two biggest WTA tournaments on the continent. It also extends the tennis season in China to four weeks, starting with the WTA event in Guangzhou and ending with the ATP's Shanghai Masters. 

The fall Asian swing also expands this year with Singapore hosting the season-ending WTA Championships for the first time. 

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