“Another example why WTA players sick of the association” – Maria Sakkari, Jessica Pegula & others getting performance byes at China Open angers fans


The main draw for the WTA 1000 China Open has been announced, and tennis fans have once again been left scratching their heads at the performance byes awarded at the tournament.

The year’s last 1000-level tournament is mandatory for all players and features every top 10 player except Karolina Muchova. The competition also awards four first-round byes, but just like the Japan Open this week, performance byes have been implemented.

As a result, four semifinalists in Tokyo (Jessica Pegula, Maria Sakkari, Veronika Kudermetova, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova) have been given byes instead of the top 4 seeds.

Tennis fans were unhappy with this decision and took to social media to express their displeasure. Some found this unjust to players who have worked all year to get top seedings.

Others slammed the WTA for creating such a mechanism that takes away hard-earned exemptions for high-ranked players. Many called for performance byes to be canceled altogether.

“At this point I need them to cancel the performance bye it’s a literal menace,” one fan wrote.

“So now the draw is based not on yearly performances but on your schedule? Imagine other sports like MLB doing this. ‘Cool you won your division this year, but the Wild card team is advancing to the LCS bc they played the other day’. Tennis can’t get out of its own way,” a fan argued.

“Just dropping this new performance bye thing, like they did, without any clear rollout has been horrible. Another example why the WTA players sick of the association,” said another fan.

“This one might be a bridge too far with the performance byes lol,” wrote a fan.

Here are some fan reactions to performance byes at the China Open:

Here’s a look at some interesting R1 matchups at China Open

The National Tennis Center in Beijing<img class="lazy-img" width="1920" height="1280" data-img="https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg" alt="The National Tennis Center in Beijing" data-img-low="https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg?w=840" src="data:image/svg+xml,” srcset=”https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg?w=190 190w, https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg?w=720 720w, https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg?w=840 840w, https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg?w=1045 1045w, https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg?w=1200 1200w, https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg?w=1460 1460w, https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg?w=1600 1600w, https://staticg.sportskeeda.com/editor/2023/09/6b3e7-16960126525215-1920.jpg 1920w”>
The National Tennis Center in Beijing

The 2023 China Open is the 17th edition of the tournament and the first since 2019. The competition, played at the National Tennis Center in Beijing, begins on October 2, with the final on October 9. The total prize pool is $8,127,389, with the singles champion earning $1.5 million and 1,000 ranking points.

Naomi Osaka, the 2019 champion, is not participating this year. Aryna Sabalenka is the top seed and will kick off her campaign against former US Open champion Sofia Kenin.

No. 2 seed, Iga Swiatek, will face Sara Sorribes Tormo, while No. 3 seed, Coco Gauff, is set to face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first match since her US Open triumph. No.4 seed Jessica Pegula has received first-round performance byes.

Other interesting first-round matchups at the China Open include Elena Rybakina vs. Qinwen Zheng, the clash of 2023 Australian Open semifinalist Victoria Azarenka and Magda Linette, and Alycia Parks vs. Liudmila Samsonova.

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Edited by Kanav Seth
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