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Wild cards for Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams

Balbir Singh | July 31, 2019 11:16 AM

CINCINNATI: Former World No. 1s and multiple Major winners Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams have been awarded the first wild cards for the 2019 Western & Southern Open. Both players join the main draw field for the tournament that will be held August 10-18 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.
Sharapova owns 36 career titles, including five at Majors, and is one of just six women to have achieved a career Grand Slam. She is the last teenager to win a Major title, doing so at Wimbledon 15 years ago at the age of 19. Sharapova also reached 23 WTA finals, which includes a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics. She has spent 21 weeks in her career as the No. 1 ranked player.
Runner-up to Kim Clijsters in her 2010 W&S Open debut, Sharapova defeated four Top 15 players en route to the 2011 title. She boasts a 13-3 record at the event in her career, including a run to the semifinals in 2014, her last appearance at the tournament.
In her career, Williams has won 49 titles, including seven at Majors. She has been a finalist at all four Grand Slam events, finishing as runner-up nine times, most recently at the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017. She has held the WTA No. 1 ranking for 11 weeks. She won the singles gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and counts three gold medals and 14 Majors among her 22 career doubles titles, all of which have come with her sister, Serena.
The 39-year-old Williams made her WTA debut in 1994 at Oakland.
Williams will be playing the Western & Southern Open for a seventh time. Her best result was a semifinal in 2012, when she lost to eventual champion Li Na. She owns an 8-5 record at the event, and last played here in 2017.
“Maria and Venus are two of the greatest champions in tennis history,” said Western & Southern Open Tournament Director Andre Silva. “We look forward to both joining our world class field and are eager for the tournament to get underway next weekend.”
Sharapova and Williams join the previously announced 43 players on the initial entry list. Three more wild cards will be given and an additional eight players will round out the 56-player field through the two-round qualifying tournament that will take place on First Watch Opening Weekend, Aug. 10-11.
In 2018, the Western & Southern Open attracted more than 194,000 spectators. The reigning singles champions are ATP No. 1 Novak Djokovic and WTA No. 5 Kiki Bertens. In addition to world class tennis, the W&S Open features more than 50 musical acts, 20 food vendors, six signature bar areas and a retail plaza for patrons to enjoy between matches.
The Western & Southern Open, a WTA Premier 5 and ATP Masters 1000 tournament, is part of the US Open Series. Started in 1899, the tournament annually supports a number of Cincinnati area charities.

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